Black Bear #19-3292 [Green Tag]

December 11, 2019
April 27, 2020
Rescue Location
Madison County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Thin, mange mites
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On December 11, a young Black Bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center from Madison County, Virginia. A private citizen saw the bear in the same area for several weeks; the bear appeared weak and as if it was slowing declining in health and mobility.

Dr. Claire, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the male bear when he arrived. Based on the bear’s size and dentition, this bear was likely born in the winter of 2019 – making him, by some standards, a “cub” – though turning into a yearling next month. In Virginia, the median birth date for bear cubs is in mid-January.

The bear was very thin and had a patchy hair coat; a skin scraping revealed sarcoptic mange mites. No fractures or wounds were noted. Dr. Claire gave the bear fluids and an injectable dose of an anti-parasitic medication to treat the mange, and placed him in the Center’s isolation area for the night.

When the bear is brighter and more alert, the staff will move him to the Center’s bear pen, where he’ll remain until his mange is fully resolved. The staff will carefully monitor the bear for additional issues.

You can help support our work with native wildlife.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care for this juvenile Black Bear and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

During the past weekend, the rehabilitation staff were able to successfully trap No Tag, White Tag, and Green Tag in preparation for Monday’s release. Pink Tag remained in a tree throughout the weekend.

On the morning of April 27, the three bear yearlings received a physical examination, weight, skin scraping, and blood draw. The bears were tagged with a green tag in each ear for release; all cubs who have been rehabilitated and released receive this color of ear tag for easier identification in the wild. A DGIF biologist picked up White Tag and No Tag for a joint release; then a second biologist picked up Green Tag for release in a different area.

All bears were in good body condition. Final weights were:

Black Bear #19-0492 (White Tag): 33.9 kg [White Tag was at the Center for a total of 375 days!]
Black Bear #19-0546 (No Tag): 35.4 kg [No Tag was with us for 370 days!]

Kelsey noted that Green Tag weighed more than No Tag and White Tag, and was in perfect condition!

Pink Tag remained in a tree during all the darting and loading. The rehabilitation staff will continue to try to live-trap the bear; if she is successfully contained this week, she’ll be moved into the transition area.

4:30 p.m. update

The DGIF biologist who released No Tag and White Tag report that the release went well, and said the cubs  "were both perplexed by the feel of grass once they stepped off the road. No Tag immediately started foraging on some May apples and then they took off out of sight!”

The biologists who released Green Tag also reported back that the release went well; Green Tag jumped out of the bear trap and promptly climbed a tree.

Thanks to your support, these bears were able to return to the wild, where they belong!

The four Black Bear cubs of 2019 have been doing well in the Center’s Bear Complex. Regular Critter Cam watchers may have noticed that the bears have been particularly active during the past few weeks, which is a good reminder that spring – the ideal time for these bears to be released back into the wild — is quickly approaching! In preparation for planning the bears’ eventual release, the Center’s rehabilitation staff are closely observing their behaviors and overall health. Black Bears #19-0546 (No Tag) and #19-0492 (White Tag) are regularly seen roaming the complex together, while Black Bear #19-3292 (Green Tag) seems to spend more time apart from the other bears. Black Bear #19-3305 (Pink Tag) is very rarely seen on camera; the rehabilitation staff report that Pink Tag hasn’t interacted with the other bears much, but seems to have chosen a specific artificial den within the transition area to spend most of her time in. To ensure Pink Tag is receiving proper nutrition, the staff are delivering food to both the transition area and the open Bear Yard.

All four of these bears have reached the age that they would begin to disperse from sows in the wild, and spring weather will soon increase the amount food and other resources available to wild bears in Virginia. During the coming weeks the rehabilitation staff will continue to monitor the bears, and will begin the planning process for their release in April.



On February 13, Black Bear yearlings #19-3305 (Pink Tag) and #19-3292 (Green Tag), were successfully moved from their individual Bear Pen enclosures to the transition area of the Center’s Bear Complex! Before the move, Dr. Claire sedated the bears so that she could test a skin scrape sample for mites, a fecal sample for internal parasites, and draw blood for later testing. Test results were within normal limits, and the yearlings have increased in weight. Veterinary staff report that each yearling is in good body condition. Before the move, each bear was weighed:

Pink Tag: 18.5 kg

Green Tag: 26.2 kg

Both of the bears made an uneventful recovery from sedation, but will remain within the transition area for an undetermined amount of time. Wildlife rehabilitators Shannon and Kelsey will closely observe both of the yearlings during the coming days to evaluate when it will be appropriate to allow them full-access to Bear Yard 1.

On February 13, Black Bear #19-3292 and #19-3305 are scheduled for another physical examination, skin scraping, and blood draw. Blood work on both bears will be sent to an outside laboratory to compare thyroid levels; the staff hope that this comparison will help determine if there is a medical cause for the stunted growth of bear #19-3305, or if the bear’s smaller frame may have just been a lack of nutrition in the fall.

As long as the skin scraping results of both bears are negative for mange mites, the bears will both be moved to the transition yard of Black Bear Complex #1. This will allow the two bears to see, hear, and smell other bears that have been living in the Bear Complex yard since last year; after an introductory period, they’ll all be allowed to co-mingle in yard #1.

Black Bear #19-3292 [Green Tag] was sedated for a follow-up examination and skin scraping on January 16. Drs. Claire and Karra, the Center’s veterinary interns, found that the bear was well hydrated and had an appropriate body condition — a big improvement since the bear’s admission last month. The bear weighed 20.0 kg, almost doubling in weight in a little more than a month!

A skin scraping did not show any sarcoptic mange mites, and the bear’s blood work indicated that his anemia had also resolved. The bear was returned to the Center’s Bear Pens.


Black Bear #19-3305, the bear affected by the ursicoptes mange mite, is scheduled for an examination on January 18. If that bear is free from all signs of mites, the two bears will be slowly introduced to one another. Both will move to the Black Bear Complex after they are introduced and have an additional skin-scraping.

Both juvenile Black Bears admitted in late December 2019 are doing well. While the two bears are not housed together, they are both in the Center’s Bear Pens; Black Bear #19-3305 [now Pink Tag] is in Bear Pen 1, and Black Bear #19-3292 [now Green Tag] is in Bear Pen 3. Both will be housed in their respective locations until they are entirely free from their mange mites.

Pink Tag is currently eating about six pounds of food each day; if she continues to eat well, her amount will increase. Green Tag is currently eating eight pounds of food each day. By comparison, the two healthy bears in the Bear Complex are receiving a shared meal of 16 pounds a day, though are fasted on Sundays.

Both bears will be sedated during the week of January 16 for a second skin scraping to check for the presence of mites.

Black Bear #19-3292 was moved to the Center’s Bear Pen on the afternoon of December 12; this space is a good location for housing mange positive patients, since the concrete block enclosure can be entirely disinfected, which will prevent mange mites from persisting in the environment. The rehabilitation staff report that the bear is fairly quiet; it’s likely that the bear is still uncomfortable due to the mite infestation. The bear is eating some wet dog food on his own.

The veterinary teamed ordered the oral mange medication that Dr. Peach has been using in her bear mange research project; once that is in, the staff will hide the single dose of medication in a food item that the bear has been consistently eating.