Black Bear yearling #17-1559

June 24, 2017
August 10, 2017
Rescue Location
Shenandoah County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On June 24, a Black Bear yearling was hit by a car while feeding on a deer carcass on the side of the road in Shenandoah County. An officer with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries picked up and transported the bear to the Wildlife Center that same day.

Drs. Alexa and Ernesto examined the male bear upon admission; the bear was quiet and alert before they tranquilized it for a hands-on physical examination. No broken bones were found, though radiographs indicated fluid in the chest [likely blood], and bruising to the lungs. The veterinary team administered pain medication and fluids, as well as a sedative to keep the bear calm in the Center’s indoor holding facility overnight. The bear weighed 20.60 kg.

The bear made it through the weekend, which was the most critical period following the initial internal trauma. On Monday morning, Dr. Ernesto noted that the bear was still having difficulty breathing. The team plans to anesthetize the bear to provide a critical-care set-up that will provide supplemental oxygen.

Your donation helps to provide specialized medical care for this injured bear, as well as the 2,500 animals that will be admitted to the Wildlife Center this year.

Patient Updates

Black Bear yearling #17-1559 was successfully released on August 10. Dr. Ernesto and outreach director Amanda were able to attend the release with Jaime Sajecki, Black Bear Project Leader with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. The bear was released in a remote area, with a pond and berry bushes nearby.

The bear jumped out of Jaime’s truck and quickly ran down a path toward the pond – he then took a swim in the pond before climbing out and disappearing into the woods.

Senior K9 Conservation Police Officer Wayne Billhimer shared this photo from when the bear was initially rescued in June after he was hit by a tractor trailer.

At today’s final check-up, the bear weighed 35 kg.



Black Bear yearling #17-1559 has been doing well in yard #2 of the Black Bear Complex for the past two weeks. Wildlife rehabilitator Brie contacted Jaime Sajecki, the Black Bear Project Leader with the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, to discuss the release. Plans are tentatively being made for release within the next few days, though this may depend on being able to successfully shift the bear into the transition area of the yard for easier darting.

Black Bear #17-1559 has been doing well in the Center’s Bear Pen during the past couple of weeks. On July 26, the rehabilitation team set a live trap in the bear pen so that they could more easily catch the bear to move him to the Black Bear Complex. Fortunately, the bear fell for the baited trap fairly quickly, and the team moved him to yard #2, next to the Center’s current crop of bear cubs.

During the weekend, Black Bear yearling #17-1559 continued to make daily improvements. The bear became increasingly more active and has been eating all of his food. As of July 5, there were no noted respiratory issues. The bear will remain in the Center’s Bear Pens for the immediate future, just to ensure that the bear continues to remain in good health.

Earlier this week, Dr. Ernesto was able to set up a makeshift oxygen chamber for Black Bear yearling #17-1559, to assist with the bear’s labored breathing. The bear has been a challenging patient to care for; the bear is large enough that the veterinary team needs to sedate the bear for any hands-on treatments, but injured enough that a number of regular treatments are needed.

Fortunately, on June 29, the bear was much brighter and began eating on his own. The bear’s breathing was still labored, but started to show signs of improvement. The following day, additional improvements were noted; Drs. Ernesto and Alexa decided that the bear had improved enough to move to an outdoor Bear Pen enclosure. The staff will carefully monitor the bear in the coming days but are encouraged by the yearling’s progress.