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September 19, 2008 
Photo of Kevin Mack.

For These Teddy Bears, Life Has Been No Picnic
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

Help these bears become wild again

  • $70 feeds one orphaned cub for a week
  • $100 provides IV fluids to help bear cub 08-2262 fight her infection
  • $480 pays for an hour of anesthesia for a medical procedure and exam for one bear
  • $500 covers X-rays for one bear cub

The total projected cost to provide food and medical supplies for these four cubs is more than $9,000, and PAWS Wildlife Center does not receive funding from any government agency for their care.

Gifts from individuals like you make it possible for PAWS to give these cubs and thousands of other animals, a second chance at a free and wild life. Please donate now.

If the recent admissions at the PAWS Wildlife Center are any indication, it has been a tough month for Washington State's Black Bears. Between August 26 and September 10 PAWS received four bear cubs, all of which had experienced traumatic events before coming under our care. The following photos will give you a glimpse of each of these special individuals as they began the rehabilitation process.

Photo of a Black Bear.
On August 26, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) brought two cubs to PAWS. They were orphaned siblings, a brother and sister, whose mother had been struck and killed by a car on I-90 east of North Bend. After losing their mother, the cubs had wandered to a nearby campground where they were captured by WDFW agents. Upon arrival at the wildlife center, the male cub was assigned the case number 08-2161. In this photo Wildlife Veterinary Student Extern Taralyn Meusel examines the eyes of cub 08-2161.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Cub 08-2161 is uninjured and in good health. He weighed 40 pounds at admission.
Photo of a Black Bear.
This photo was taken shortly after cub 08-2161 woke up from anesthesia. Note the color of his fur. Although their common name is "Black Bear,” the fur color of this species actually varies quite a bit from one individual to the next. PAWS has received bears with fur that could be described as sandy blonde, cinnamon, chocolate brown, and pure black. In British Columbia there is a population of Black Bears known as "Kermode" or "Spirit Bears" that are actually pure white in color.
Photo of a Black Bear.
The sister of cub 08-2161 was given the case number 08-2162. She is quite a bit smaller than her brother, weighing just under 25 pounds at admission. Here she is under anesthesia awaiting a series of X-rays. She too was found to be in good health, although she had a small puncture in one of her eardrums. The veterinary staff is confident that the puncture will heal on its own.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Here is cub 082162 after she recovered from anesthesia.
Photo of a Black Bear.
A third bear cub arrived at PAWS on September 8 and was given the case number 08-2262. She and her sibling had become orphans when their mother was shot by a hunter. Cub 08-2262 clung to the body of her mother after the shooting, but her sibling fled. WDFW agent Bruce Richards (pictured here examining the cub in her transport container after sedating her) rescued the cub. Unfortunately her sibling could not be found.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Cub 08-2262 was depressed and lethargic when she arrived at the wildlife center. She weighed 40 pounds. During her physical examination swelling was noted on the left side of her head and snout, as well as in her throat. She also had many broken teeth. The cause of these conditions was not readily apparent. Fortunately, the broken teeth were baby teeth, and an X-ray showed that the bear's adult teeth were still intact and waiting to emerge. She was started on medications to reduce the swelling in her head and on antibiotics to fight an apparent infection.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Two days later Cub 08-2262 was given a follow-up exam. The swelling in her head had worsened and, as this photo shows, both sides of her face were now puffy.
Photo of a Black Bear.
During her follow-up exam, cub 08-2262 was given IV fluids and was X-rayed again. In this photo, PAWS Wildlife Veterinary Technician Jean Leonhardt carries the sedated cub from the surgery room to radiology.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Two days after the follow-up exam, cub 08-2262 was starting to feel better. The swelling in her face and throat had decreased and she was much more active and energetic. She was moved out of the isolation room in which she had been housed initially and into a much larger enclosure.
Photo of a Black Bear.
PAWS received another bear cub on September 10. This cub had wandered into the City of Renton with his mother. He was darted by the WDFW for relocation, but he quickly climbed a tree before the tranquilizer could take effect. When the drugs finally did render him unconscious, he fell from the tree breaking his jaw in the process. The WDFW agent on the scene took the cub to a veterinary emergency clinic where his jaw fracture was stabilized with wire. The agent then brought the bear to PAWS for rehabilitation. He was assigned the case number 08-2282.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Cub 08-2282 is truly a black bear. He has gorgeous dark fur and a brown snout. In this photo Taralyn monitors the cubs heart as he is under anesthesia on the X-ray table.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Cub 08-2282 was quite a bit larger than the three bears who arrived before him. He weighed more than 75 pounds. Here, Wildlife Rehabilitator John Samaras carries the sedated bear from the surgery room to the enclosure in which he will recover from anesthesia. Jean monitors the bear's recovery.
Photo of a Black Bear.
Another look at cub 08-2282.

All four of these bear cubs will spend the next several months growing and healing at PAWS. If all goes well, they will go into their winter sleep here at the wildlife center and be released into winter dens in the Cascade Mountains in January or February. The cubs will remain isolated from human contact while they are in care to ensure that they do not become habituated to our presence. As their personal stories attest, a healthy fear of humans will be their best defense when they are returned to the wild and free lives they are meant to live.


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