Black Bear #19-3305

Admission Date: 
December 19, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Augusta County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Thin, mites
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On December 16, a young Black Bear cub was reported to have approached a hunter in the woods in Augusta County, Virginia. There was no sow seen in the area, and the bear was picked up and given to a private citizen where it was kept in a house for three days. The bear was transported to the Wildlife Center and admitted on December 19. 

Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the small female cub when she arrived. The bear was very thin and dehydrated, weighing only 7.8 kg with a body condition score of 2/5. No injuries were found, but a physical exam revealed mild flaking of the skin with some crusts and mats in the fur. A skin scrape revealed ursicoptes mites, and a fecal analysis confirmed that the bear had a high number of internal parasites. 

An anti-parasitic medication was given, along with fluids, and Dr. Karra placed a pink identification tag in the bear's right ear. The bear was placed in a zinger crate in the Center’s indoor ICU for the night and was moved to an outdoor Bear Pen on December 20. 

At this point, the cub is much too small to be placed in one of the Center's large outdoor Bear Yards. The veterinary staff will closely monitor the bear's nutrition and treatment for parasites during the coming months.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care for this juvenile Black Bear -- and more than 3,000 other patients that the Center will treat in 2019. Thank you!


March 10, 2020

The four Black Bear cubs of 2019 have been doing well in the Center’s Bear Complex. Regular Critter Cam watchers may have noticed that the bears have been particularly active during the past few weeks, which is a good reminder that spring – the ideal time for these bears to be released back into the wild -- is quickly approaching! In preparation for planning the bears’ eventual release, the Center’s rehabilitation staff are closely observing their behaviors and overall health. Black Bears #19-0546 (No Tag) and #19-0492 (White Tag) are regularly seen roaming the complex together, while Black Bear #19-3292 (Green Tag) seems to spend more time apart from the other bears. Black Bear #19-3305 (Pink Tag) is very rarely seen on camera; the rehabilitation staff report that Pink Tag hasn’t interacted with the other bears much, but seems to have chosen a specific artificial den within the transition area to spend most of her time in. To ensure Pink Tag is receiving proper nutrition, the staff are delivering food to both the transition area and the open Bear Yard.

All four of these bears have reached the age that they would begin to disperse from sows in the wild, and spring weather will soon increase the amount food and other resources available to wild bears in Virginia. During the coming weeks the rehabilitation staff will continue to monitor the bears, and will begin the planning process for their release in April.



February 14, 2020

On February 13, Black Bear yearlings #19-3305 (Pink Tag) and #19-3282 (Green Tag), were successfully moved from their individual Bear Pen enclosures to the transition area of the Center’s Bear Complex! Before the move, Dr. Claire sedated the bears so that she could test a skin scrape sample for mites, a fecal sample for internal parasites, and draw blood for later testing. Test results were within normal limits, and the yearlings have increased in weight. Veterinary staff report that each yearling is in good body condition. Before the move, each bear was weighed:

Pink Tag: 18.5 kg


Green Tag: 26.2 kg

Both of the bears made an uneventful recovery from sedation, but will remain within the transition area for an undetermined amount of time. Wildlife rehabilitators Shannon and Kelsey will closely observe both of the yearlings during the coming days to evaluate when it will be appropriate to allow them full-access to Bear Yard 1.  

February 3, 2020

On February 13, Black Bear #19-3292 and #19-3305 are scheduled for another physical examination, skin scraping, and blood draw. Blood work on both bears will be sent to an outside laboratory to compare thyroid levels; the staff hope that this comparison will help determine if there is a medical cause for the stunted growth of bear #19-3305, or if the bear’s smaller frame may have just been a lack of nutrition in the fall.

As long as the skin scraping results of both bears are negative for mange mites, the bears will both be moved to the transition yard of Black Bear Complex #1. This will allow the two bears to see, hear, and smell other bears that have been living in the Bear Complex yard since last year; after an introductory period, they’ll all be allowed to co-mingle in yard #1.

January 20, 2020

On Saturday, January 18, the veterinary team anesthetized Black Bear #19-3305 for a follow-up physical examination, blood work, and skin scrapes.

Dr. Karra, the Center’s senior veterinary intern, found that the bear was in excellent body condition, with a body condition score of 3/5 [a score of 1/5 is very thin, and a score of 5/5 is very overweight].  The bear weighed 15 kg, which is more than double than her admission weight [7.3 kg]. A complete blood count was within normal limits and indicated that the bear’s anemia had resolved. The skin scrapes were negative for mites.

The bear was moved to Bear Pen 2, so that she can get to know her neighbor, Black Bear #19-3292, in Bear Pen 3.

While the bear has gained weight and has met the weight requirement [10 kg] for moving to the Black Bear Complex overall, Dr. Karra noted that the bear was still quite small in stature. Additional blood work was sent out on Monday, January 20, to check for any additional health issues that may explain the bear’s small stature, though it also may just be due to being undernourished for a period of time this fall.

Both bears in the Center’s Bear Pens received their  “birthday cakes” on Saturday after the procedure.


Black Bear #19-3292 and cake!

January 2, 2020

Both juvenile Black Bears admitted in late December 2019 are doing well. While the two bears are not housed together, they are both in the Center’s Bear Pens; Black Bear #19-3305 [now Pink Tag] is in Bear Pen 1, and Black Bear #19-3292 [now Green Tag] is in Bear Pen 3. Both will be housed in their respective locations until they are entirely free from their mange mites.

Pink Tag is currently eating about six pounds of food each day; if she continues to eat well, her amount will increase. Green Tag is currently eating eight pounds of food each day. By comparison, the two healthy bears in the Bear Complex are receiving a shared meal of 16 pounds a day, though are fasted on Sundays.

Both bears will be sedated during the week of January 16 for a second skin scraping to check for the presence of mites.