Black Bear yearling #17-1102

Admission Date: 
May 24, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Albemarle County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Died July 1, 2017
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On May 23, a homeowner in Albemarle County saw a very thin yearling bear hanging out on her back deck. The homeowner called the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries; two biologists went out to trap the bear. After a few attempts, they were able to successful trap the underweight yearling. The bear was admitted to the Wildlife Center the following morning.

Dr. Ernesto, the Center's hospital director, examined the bear upon arrival. The bear was in very poor body condition; Dr. Ernesto estimated a body condition score of 1/5. The bear was infested with ticks, severely dehydrated, and quiet. A physical examination revealed a laceration and bruising on the bear's abdomen. Radiographs were within normal limits. Blood work revealed anemia, likely due to starvation. The bear weighed 13.2 kg.

Dr. Ernesto carefully cleaned the wound and covered it in a special hydrogel bandage, which helps prevent infection and promote healing. The bear was moved to the Bear Pens, and will be offered a soft, digestible meal. The staff will carefully monitor the bear's appetite and attitude in the coming days.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide medical care to this starving bear  ... and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.


July 6, 2017

On Saturday, July 1, Black Bear #17-1102 was found collapsed in Yard #2. The yearling was quickly taken into the clinic; despite an all-out effort to stabilize and revive him, the bear died overnight.

Drs. Ernesto and Alexa performed a necropsy on Sunday morning and found that the bear had symptoms of aspiration pneumonia. Even with a battery of diagnostic tests and a necropsy, the staff were unable to pinpoint the cause of this bear's failure to thrive; metabolic, congenital, neurologic issues cannot be ruled out. The bear had been behaving normally on June 29, when the four 2016 bear yearlings were released.

June 28, 2017

On Sunday, June 25, the veterinary team decided to move Black Bear yearling #17-1102 to the Black Bear Complex. The bear appears in good condition and has been eating well. The staff were able to set a live trap so that the bear didn't have to be darted; they then moved the yearling to the transition area of yard #2. The bear will soon have full access to the yard, and will put on additional weight prior to release later this summer.

May 30, 2017

Black Bear yearling #17-1102 has been doing well since his admission; the bear is eating regularly. On Sunday, May 28, the bear was transitioned to a regular bear diet -- a mix of hard dog food, seeds, nuts, insects, veggies, and fruits -- and the rehabilitation team reports that the bear has been eating well. As long as the bear continues eating, the yearling should be able to be moved to the Bear Complex at some point, where he can continue to put on weight prior to release.