Black Bear cub #16-0389

April 24, 2016
Rescue Location
Warren County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Abnormal left eye
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On April 23, a bear cub was seen in Warren County, Virginia; private citizens became concerned after the bear appeared to be by itself for about six hours. There were reports of spotlighting activity in the area; after the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries was contacted, the decision was made to bring the cub to the Center on April 24.

Dr. Dana examined the male cub when he arrived and reported that the cub was bright, alert, and very feisty. The cub was mildly dehydrated and a little thin; blood work revealed a mild anemia. The most significant finding was an abnormal left eye, which appeared severely shrunken. Discharge was coming from the bear’s left eye, and Dr. Dana noted that the cornea was white. The abnormal eye may be a congenital issue, or could be the result of a traumatic injury that occurred when the bear was very young.

Dr. Dana contacted Jaime Sajecki, the Black Bear Project Leader with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, to discuss plans for the cub. Jaime said that there is still an opportunity to foster the cub onto a surrogate sow at the Virginia Tech Black Bear Research program, as long as the Center staff are able to remove the bear’s abnormal left eye soon.

The bear cub will be taken to surgery on April 25 to remove the eye; this will eliminate the chance of a recurring infection and possible source of pain for the cub. After surgery, the cub will remain at the Center for a week for post-op care, including pain medication and antibiotics. If all goes well, the bear will be transferred to Virginia Tech in early May so that he can be fostered onto a surrogate sow with cubs; the new family will be released in May.

Your contribution will help the Center to provide care to this bear cub …and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.

Patient Updates

Black Bear #16-0389 and his new family were released back to the wild on May 4. VDGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime reports that the cub was very feisty and doing really well. She also noted that the cub was a little more “needy” than his new siblings, and was crawling all over his new mom and stayed close to her as she was waking up from sedation prior to release.

In this video, you can see the new family – and little #16-0389 is the first out of the gate!

Black Bear cub #16-0389 is doing very well after his eye enucleation. The surgical site is healing well, and there is no sign of infection or complication. Critter Cam viewers had a special treat on April 28 when they saw the feisty cub receive his daily treatment on Hospital Cam.

Dr. Dave has been in touch with DGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime about the bear cub’s transfer to Virginia Tech, for introduction onto a surrogate sow. As long as everything continues to go well during the next three days, the cub will be transferred on Sunday, May 1. This will allow the cub to be introduced to the sow (and new siblings) prior to a May release of the bear family.

On April 25, the veterinary team took Black Bear cub #16-0389 to surgery to remove his left eye. Dr. Dana had the honor of performing the enucleation; she was able to successfully remove the deformed eye, and the bear cub recovered without complications.