On February 16, Wildlife Center President Ed Clark responded to a call about a wildlife situation in his own neighborhood -- a small, thin Black Bear yearling was reportedly sleeping on someone's porch, not moving. Ed was able to acquire a variety of safety equipment and gloves and trapped the bear yearling in a crate.
Dr. Cam, one of the Center's veterinary interns, examined the male yearling when he arrived. The yearling was bright and feisty, though very thin and weighed in at 14.30 kg. The bear had significant hair loss all over his body, as well as some crusting of the skin, a classic symptom of mange. A skin scraping confirmed the presence of sarcoptic mange mites. No other significant injuries were found.
The yearling was placed in Bear Pen 3, and in the coming days, the rehabilitation staff will closely monitor the bear's appetite and food intake. When the bear is reliably eating a particular food item, the team will offer an oral medication to treat the mange mites.
Mange is a growing problem for Black Bears in Virginia; if you see a mangy bear, call the Department of Wildlife Resources for additional assistance and advice.