PATIENT: Black Bear, #12-0073
LOCATION OF RESCUE: Nelson County, VA
ADMISSION DATE: February 9, 2012
In early February, a homeowner in Afton, Virginia saw a young bear hanging around on his property. On February 9, several days after seeing the lone bear, the man was able to contain the small yearling in a barrel. He contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the state bear biologist traveled to Afton to assess the situation. The bear biologist then transported the bear to the Wildlife Center.
Upon admission, Black Bear #12-0073 was settled into an enclosure in the Center’s holding room and received a brief preliminary examination. Dr. Adam Naylor observed the alert bear for a few moments and noted that the bear’s right eye appeared to be abnormal. The staff were able to obtain a weight on the young male Black Bear – it weighed in at just 3.94 kgs [8.67 lbs]. The bear is very underweight for its age; yearlings typically weigh at least 40 – 60 pounds.
On February 10, Dr. Adam and team sedated and anesthetized the bear for a physical examination, radiographs, and blood work. No apparent injuries were found on the bear’s body, and radiographs had no significant findings. Dr. Adam and Dr. Dave were able to assess the bear’s right eye more closely under anesthesia. They found that the bear is completely blind in that eye — while it’s difficult to interpret what happened, the veterinarians think that he may either have been a congenital issue, or an old injury that has healed. There have been known reports of one-eyed Black Bears doing fine in the wild, so the team hopes that this will not be an issue for the cub.
Blood work will be reviewed on the afternoon of February 10. At this point, the bear’s main issue is that it is very thin. The team can’t be sure why the yearling is under-sized and under-weight, but similar to the Suffolk bear cub, he just needs some time to put on weight.
The bear will be observed in the Center’s indoor holding facility for the next 24-48 hours, and then will be settled into the Center’s bear pen.
Interesting Information about Black Bears in Virginia