Black Bear cub #15-1651

July 25, 2015
April 20, 2016
Rescue Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On July 21, a homeowner in Goshen, Virginia saw three Black Bear cubs near the side of a road. The homeowner continued to see the cubs throughout the week, and on Saturday, July 25 saw one cub staggering by itself. The cub appeared to be very weak. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries was notified, and an officer transported the cub to the Wildlife Center later that same day.

When the cub arrived at the Center, it was laying on its side and was nearly comatose. Dr. Dana Franzen, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the cub. She found that the female bear was severely dehydrated, anemic, emaciated, and hypothermic. Blood work revealed significant changes in kidney values, likely due to the bear’s very poor condition. Dr. Dana knew that was cub’s prognosis was grave, but placed an intravenous catheter into the bear’s forelimb to supply fluids and additional nutrients. The cub weighed 7.37 kg.

The following morning, Dr. Dana checked on the small cub and was happily surprised to find that the bear was awake and standing. The cub was still quite weak, but actively struggled against restraint during her treatments. Dr. Dana began a re-feeding plan to slowly introduce food back into the cub’s system; re-feeding syndrome is a serious concern when re-introducing nutrients to a severely emaciated patient. During the next five days, the bear will gradually be given an increasing amount of A/D food – a specialized nutritional support food for animals recovering from severe injury. On Sunday, the cub ate a half can of A/D.

On Monday, July 27, the cub was even brighter and stronger – the staff had a more difficult time restraining the cub for fluids and an additional blood draw. The staff is very encouraged by the improvements, although re-feeding syndrome is still a risk for this young bear.

For more photos and updates, see our Black Bears of 2015 patient page!

At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release. Your donation will help support the Center’s life-saving work with this young Black Bear cub … and with thousands of wild animals in need. 

Patient Updates

On the morning of July 31, Drs. Helen and Dana decided to move Black Bear cub #15-1651 to the Black Bear Complex with the other bear cubs. Cub #15-1651 has recovered well from her initial dehydration and emaciation; while she still needs to gain more weight, she has improved greatly during her first week of care.

The female cub [marked with a green ear tag] was placed into the main yard of the complex. She quickly ran through the yard, to the fence line. The five male cubs currently living in the yard were slow to approach her; at first, they simply watched the new cub as she walked along the fence. The five male cubs then tentatively approached the newcomer as a group, but most were quick to run up a tree when the female turned to look at them.

The female cub discovered a food bag and ate a bit before climbing a tree. You can watch the continued introduction and cub’s recovery on the Center’s Critter Cam!

Black Bear cub #15-1651 has made a dramatic improvement during the past few days. Each day, the bear has been more feisty and harder for the staff to handle; the cub is eating well and now weighs 9.16 kg.

On July 29, the staff moved the cub in her zinger crate to the transition area of the Black Bear Complex. This not only allowed the bear to continue to recover a little farther away from humans, but it also began her introduction to her new “brothers” – the male bear cubs currently being cared for at the Center. The zinger crate and cub are returned to the Center’s holding room in the evening, where the female cub is able to eat a small, regular bear diet of veggies, fruits, nuts, and greens.

The cub will continue to receive specialized a/d canned food to increase her caloric intake until she’s moved outside. Dr. Helen and Dr. Dana will likely move the cub to the complex within the new few days. The bear is increasingly difficult to house in the Center’s holding room, though the veterinarians want to make sure that the bear has first gained enough weight, in hopes that she won’t gorge herself on the food in the complex yard.