Celebrating the wildlife releases of the PAWS Wildlife Center
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by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist
On January 13th, the PAWS Wildlife Center received a special delivery from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). All that could be seen of the "delivery" when she first arrived was her frightened face as she peered out from behind the bars of her transport carrier. The four-plus hour car ride likely seemed an eternity to this fuzzy yearling, and she had no idea what to expect now that the ride was over. She was happy to get out of the carrier and into more spacious accommodations, but she was quite fearful to be surrounded by a new, and still foreign, set of sights, sounds, and smells.
A bear cub arrives at PAWS in a metal transport carrier, and is then anesthetized for her initial physical examination. The cub was found starving and alone in Clatskanie, Oregon, and she was transferred to PAWS by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The arrival of Black Bear 04-0065 from Oregon brought the total number of bears that PAWS has worked with to 43. It is unusual for PAWS to receive a bear in January, as they would normally be holed up in winter dens at this time of year. Bear 04-0065 should have been sleeping the winter away in a den with her mother, but something had obviously interrupted that, or prevented it entirely. Bears sleep through the winter for a reason, and 04-0065 discovered that reason the hard way. On the verge of starvation, she was captured by ODFW agents in late December when she wandered into the small town of Clatskanie, near Portland. In most cases, wandering into town is a death sentence for a bear, but in this instance it may have been the only thing that saved the bear's life. ODFW transferred the bear to PAWS since Oregon does not currently have bear rehabilitation facilities in the state. She will be cared for at the PAWS Wildlife Center with the goal of returning her to Oregon for a late March or early April release.
The following photos document bear 04-0065's arrival at PAWS, and her adjustment period to her new surroundings. I hope you enjoy them.
On January 13th, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
truck, with a very strong transport carrier in the back, pulled
into the PAWS parking lot.
Inside the carrier, a furry being waited patiently to find out what
was to become of her. In this photo it almost looks like she
should have a little tin cup in her paw that she can rattle back
and forth across the bars.
An Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife agent (foreground), and
PAWS Wildlife Department Veterinarian John Huckabee
prepare to unload the carrier.
The carrier was placed in the wildlife center's outdoor runs area.
The runs are a series of cement walled cages that are
connected to one another by small doorways (visible in the wall
on the left). Each section of caging can be closed off using a
sliding metal door. The doors are moved using handles that are
outside of the cage. This setup allows PAWS staff to close the
bear off in one area while they clean in another, and helps to
limit the contact between the bear and her human caregivers.
The bear was released into the runs cages. She was extremely
nervous at first, and she cautiously investigated her new
surroundings. For the first day, the cages were sparsely
furnished. This made it easier to capture and tranquilize the
cub the following morning for her physical examination.
Several days later, bear cub 04-0065 explores her much-
improved cage. Rocks, logs, green branches, a water pool,
and other features have been added.
Food is scattered about the cage, and it is often hidden to
encourage the bear's natural foraging behaviors. Fish are
placed in her water pool and mealworms are placed in crevices
in logs. Without some form of enrichment, bears are likely to
become bored and/or depressed while in captivity.
An old Christmas tree adds a forested feel to the bear's cage.
Looking like a bar patron waiting for a drink, the bear relaxes
on the edge of her pool. In this photo you can really get a
sense of her gorgeous cinnamon-brown color. Although the
common name of this species is "Black Bear", color actually
varies widely among different individuals. There are Black
Bears that are completely black, and Black Bears that are
nearly white. There is also a whole spectrum of blondes,
cinnamons, browns, etc., between the two extremes.
No matter how nice the accommodations are, they can't
compare to the mountains of Oregon where this bear originated.
Very shortly, she will be returning to those mountains, and she
will be a much larger and stronger bear than when she left.
Gala Evening Benefit for the Animals at PAWS
PAWS Presents Roger Fouts 7:00 pm, Thursday, March 18th at the Renaissance Madison Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Roger is a professor of psychology at Central Washington University and Co-Director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. He has been a part of Project Washoe since 1967. Washoe was the very first nonhuman animal to acquire a human language, American Sign Language for the Deaf (ASL).
Enjoy a gourmet animal-friendly dinner, live auction and inspiring presentation! Click here to learn more.
$95 Individual - Admittance for one to Roger Fouts presentation, auction and dinner
$150 Select Individual - Admittance for one to all of the above, plus pre-event reception to meet Roger Fouts at 6:00 pm
Tickets can be purchased online or call PAWS Development Office 425.787.2500 x261 or x262.
Wildlife Release tally: January 21st to January 27th, 2003
Wildlife Release tally: 2004
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