Black Bear cub #20-1694 [Double Orange Tags]

June 12, 2020
April 28, 2021
Rescue Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On June 12, a male Black Bear cub was admitted from Rockbridge County. The bear had been seen wandering around a barn for several days with no sign of a sow; the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries was contacted and the decision was made to rescue the bear cub and bring him to the Wildlife Center.

Dr. Ernesto, the Center’s hospital director, examined the small cub when he arrived, and found that the bear was quiet and alert. The cub was dehydrated and thin, with an estimated body condition score of 1.5/5 (with 3/5 being a normal, healthy condition). The bear weighed 4.9 kg. No injuries were found, though the bear did have a heavy burden of ticks. Subcutaneous fluids were given and the bear was treated with an antiparasitic. An Orange Tag was placed in each of the bear’s ears.

The bear was placed in a Zinger crate in the Center’s Bear Pen for the weekend, where the rehabilitation staff could offer a thickened formula and some soft veggies and fruits. Once most of the ticks fall off the bear, he’ll be moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure with the other cubs. Watch for him later this week on Critter Cam!

Your donation will help provide care to this young Black Bear cub — and to more than 3,000 wild patients in need that will be admitted in 2020. Thank you! 

Patient Updates

On April 27, four more Black Bears were successfully darted, sedated, and loaded for release! Double Orange, Green/Pink, White/Green, and Double Green Tags were picked up by a DWR biologist for release.

Final weights were:

Double Orange: 42.60 kg
Green/Pink: 50.60 kg
Double Green: 41.30 kg
White/Green: 42.50 kg

The rehabilitation team attempted to lure the next set of bears to be released into a transition yard on the afternoon of April 27, but the bears were wary and could not be contained. More attempts were made in the early morning of April 28, but again, no bears were willing to be lured into the transition area where they could safely be darted. The team decided to postpone today’s release and attempt to get the next set of bears ready for Thursday, April 29.

Black Bear #20-1694 has made a full recovery, and was successfully transitioned back into the Black Bear Complex on January 26. The rehabilitation staff report that he readily moved into the larger area, and was seen climbing a large tree soon after. While he appears to have preferred spending time away from the other bears in the Complex during the past few days, his behavior and physical condition is considered normal by the veterinary and rehabilitation staff.

After five days of close observation, the veterinary team determined that Black Bear #20-1694 was ready to begin the gradual transition from Large Mammal Isolation back into the larger Black Bear Complex. After sedating the bear, the Center’s rehabilitation team transported it to Complex Transition Yard 2 on the afternoon of January 19. In this small area, the bear will be able to see, hear and smell the other bears in a safely partitioned area before fully reacclimating to a larger space. The Transition Yard will also give Center staff — and Critter Cam watchers — the chance to continue observing the bear throughout the coming days.

Black Bear #20-1694 continues to heal in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. Each day, the rehabilitation staff carefully check to ensure that the bear’s rectal prolapse has not recurred and that the bear is able to defecate normally. At the end of last week, the bear finished a course of stool softeners; the team wants to ensure that everything remains normal for several days before they consider moving the bear back to the Bear Complex.

On January 4, Black Bear #20-1694 was sedated for an examination. The sutures that have been in place for the past 11 days were removed, and Dr. Cam notes that everything looks within normal limits. Another fecal sample was collected which was parasite-free. The veterinary team will keep the Black Bear in the Large Mammal enclosure for several more days to monitor and ensure that the rectal prolapse doesn’t occur again. If all continues to go well, the bear will be moved back to the Black Bear Complex.

Double Orange Tags has been recovering in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure after his surgery on Christmas Eve. Each day, the staff check the bear to ensure his sutures are intact, and to monitor for any redness or swelling. The bear is receiving a course of stool thinners to help ease the passage of his meals as he continues to heal. A fecal examination over the weekend did not reveal any parasites.

Since the bear was in-hand during darting and during his medical procedure, the veterinary team was able to weigh the bear cub; he weighed in at a hefty 30 kg!

The team will continue to carefully monitor the bear’s injury. If all heals well, the team expects the bear to be in the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure for the next seven to 10 days.

On the morning of December 23, Critter Cam viewers noticed that one of the Black Bears, Double Orange Tags, had an issue with his hind end; the veterinary team closely scrutinized the bear on camera and decided to try to trap and dart the bear for an examination. It appeared as though the bear has a rectal prolapse; this issue is not common though the Center staff did see this issue in 2016 with two bear cubs. Typically, prolapses can occur from prolonged straining [constipation or diarrhea], parasites, or a congenital issue.

The bear was safely contained in yard #2 of the Black Bear Complex, and a live trap was set, baited with fried chicken. Unfortunately, the bear did not take the bait or come out of the tree during the day. Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey disarmed the trap for the night.

The trap was reset on Christmas Eve morning, and Dr. Karra, the Center’s interim veterinary director, came in to watch and wait for the cub in one of the towers in the Black Bear Complex. Dr. Karra is prepared to dart the cub if the live trap option doesn’t work.

After many hours staking out Double Orange Tags from the Black Bear Complex tower, Dr. Karra was able to dart and sedate the injured cub. The team confirmed that the bear did have a rectal prolapse, which was able to be cleaned and treated. The cub will live in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure during treatment for the next few weeks.