On April 10, the Wildlife Center admitted two small Black Bear cubs from Shenandoah National Park. On April 10-11, the Shenandoah National Park completed a 500-acre prescribed burn at Jarman Gap. Prescribed burns are routine procedures that help reduce the threat of major wildfires; they also promote oak and pine regeneration and additional animal food sources.
During the course of the burn, two Black Bear cubs were found injured. Both were immediately transported to the Wildlife Center for treatment. Black Bear cub #13-0388, a male, had significant burns to its paws and legs. Wildlife Center veterinary fellow Dr. Rich Sim treated and bandaged the wounds. Sadly, the cub died later that same evening. Bear cub #13-0389, a female, appeared to be healthy with no burns or singed fur. There were no significant findings on the bear’s radiographs. Dr. Rich suspected that the young bear may have inhaled smoke; the bear will be monitored closely for the next few days.
If the young female continues to do well, she could be transferred to Virginia Tech during the week of April 15. A program at Virginia Tech studies wild Black Bears – the bears are kept for three to four months during their winter dormancy before they are released back into the wild. This year, the program is studying one sow – that gave birth to three cubs this winter. Bear cub #13-0389 would be introduced into its new bear family and released with the sow later this spring. DGIF is also looking at potential wild-fostering situations, depending on if an appropriate denning mother is located.
The cub is currently housed in the Center’s holding room. The rehab staff are bottle-feeding the bear five times a day.