Black Bear cub #19-1176 [Orange Tag]

Admission Date: 
May 28, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Franklin County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Separated from mother
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On May 27, a young Black Bear cub was found in the middle of a road in Franklin County, Virginia. There was no sow in the area, and the bear was picked up and taken to the Southside Virginia Wildlife Center, where he stayed for the night before he was transported the next day to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

The male cub was bright and alert when he arrived. Dr. Peach anesthetized the bear for a full examination, including a physical, blood work, radiographs, and skin scraping. The bear cub was thin, and had a severe tick infestation; no other issue was found. The cub weighed 2.02 kg.

Dr. Peach placed an Orange Tag in the bear’s left ear and gave the cub fluids and a dose of an anti-parasitic, as well as a topical flea/tick spray. Given the cub’s condition, Dr. Peach guesses that the cub has been separated from his mother for a period of time.

The rehabilitation staff will feed and monitor the bear during the next few days and will apply more topical tick spray as needed. The cub will be kept separate from the other cubs for now until the severe tick infestation is under control, and until he weighs more than 3.0 kg. The bear will be placed in a Zinger crate in the Center’s Large Mammal enclosure so the cub can see and smell his new “sisters” prior to introduction.

Your donation will help provide rehabilitative care to this cub for the next 10 months -- until he's old enough to be on his own. Thank you!


June 18, 2019

On the afternoon of June 17, Dr. Karra anesthetized Black Bear cub #19-1176 [Orange Tag] for radiographs and an ultrasound to see if any abdominal masses or obstruction could be seen. The small bear cub was extremely feisty before anesthesia – even though the cub has not been eating the past few days, he is not acting sick.


Drs. Karra and Peach were not able to see anything of note on the ultrasound or additional radiographs. The bear’s gastrointestinal tract was empty, and no masses were seen. The veterinarians are unsure of what is causing the bear’s lack of appetite at this point. A student went to a local animal hospital and picked up anti-nausea medication and an appetite stimulant; Dr. Karra gave the medications and fluids and then placed the cub back in a Zinger crate. The crate was moved back to the right side of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure, and the rehabilitation staff offered the bear a meal of canned A/D, a highly digestible, soft food.

On the morning of June 18, wildlife rehabilitation intern Kylee checked on Orange Tag and found that he had eaten the A/D food overnight. She prepared another meal for him, along with some baby food. The team will carefully monitor him to see if he continues to eat.

June 17, 2019

Rehabilitators Shannon and Kylee assessed Black Bear cub Orange Tag this morning and found that, once again, he did not eat last night’s food. He did gain a small amount of weight but generally was not interested in today’s food either, which is highly unusual.

Drs. Karra and Peach reviewed yesterday’s radiographs again; the bear’s abdomen appears abnormal, though it’s difficult to assess. While the bear does not appear to have an obstruction, there is a chance there is a mass in the bear’s abdomen, but it’s difficult to appreciate. Dr. Karra decided to bring the cub down into the Center’s hospital for an ultrasound this afternoon; depending on what she finds, she may take the bear into exploratory surgery immediately after the ultrasound.

June 3, 2019

Black Bear cub Orange Tag has been doing well in his Zinger crate on one side of the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. As of May 30, the rehab team felt like they were finally getting on top of the cub’s severe tick infestation; at that point, most ticks were dead or dying. The staff have continued to monitor the cub closely for ticks, but haven’t needed to reapply a topical treatment in the past three days.

The cub gained a little weight, and on June 3, weighed in at 2.34 kg. Once the cub is more than 3.0 kg, he can be introduced to the two other cubs residing at the Center. In the meantime, his separate housing ensures he has access to more food; the rehab team are feeding him three mush bowls per day.