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WILDLIFE — An orphaned black bear cub burned in a wildfire last summer is recovering and may be released in June, an Idaho wildlife sanctuary official said.
The 4-month-old bear nicknamed “Boo Boo” was discovered by a fisherman in a tree along the Salmon River in August days after the 312-square-mile Mustang wildfire complex passed through the area.
The cub had second-degree burns on all four paws and was malnourished when U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game workers rescued him.
After spending a few weeks at the Idaho Humane Society, the cub has been rehabilitating since September in the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary near McCall. He lives in a 2-acre forested enclosure with five other orphaned cubs.
Snowdon board member Diane Evans-Mack said Boo Boo is on the road to a full recovery, according to the Ravalli Republic.
“You wouldn’t even be able to notice that his paws were ever burnt now,” she said. “We don’t see him every day, but even when we saw him in September, two weeks after the fire, we noticed just looking at the paws that they were much better. They were still a little bit sensitive, but he was climbing trees and running around.”
The sanctuary tracks the bears’ activity with cameras. Some of the pictures on the sanctuary’s website show Boo Boo and another of the bears playfully wrestling with each other at night.
Evans-Mack said the plan is to release Boo Boo into the wild in June, and he may be collared so the sanctuary can keep track of him.
“We are going to end up holding Boo Boo through the winter, and we’ll wait until the spring bear hunting season is over because he would be a little too naive to be out there,” she said.
The cub’s diet consists of fruit, greens and dry dog food.
“Dog food is actually something that helps him put on a lot of weight,” Evans-Mack explained. “We have interns that go in and use dry dog food, and that puts a lot of fat on the bears. We get donations from local markets of fruits and some greenery that they would discard anyway. We give them salmon sometimes. ”
WILDLIFE REHABILITATION — Boo Boo, the black bear cub found by fire crews with second degree burns on all four paws last month, has been moved to a rehabilitation area in central Idaho.
Idaho Fish and Game biologist Jeff Rohlman picked up the young bruin today at the Humane Society shelter in Boise where he has been recuperating.
Rohlman took the bear to the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary in the mountains outside McCall. The sanctuary is dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife. Since 1989 it has housed and cared for a range of large and small mammals and birds in distress from injury, loss of parents, or loss of habitat.
Boo Boo weighed in at 46 pounds today, up from just 23 pounds when Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew transferred the bear to the Idaho Humane Society on Aug. 31.
He will spend the first night in a pen about the size of a single-car garage, which is attached to a two-acre enclosure at the sanctuary. When released from the pen, he would be free to roam the enclosure.
If he continues to mend, he would be released to wild. Perhaps as soon as later this fall.
He was rescued August 26 by firefighters working on the Mustang Fire burning north of Salmon. His feet were badly burned, and he was treated initially at Idaho Fish and Game's Wildlife Health Lab in Caldwell.
The young bear has continued to improve. No infection in any of his foot pads has been detected despite second-degree burns on all four feet, Drew said.
We dare you. Look at the face of Idaho’s most famous black bear cub, rescued from a wildfire near Salmon Aug. 26. Just try not to let out an “Awww.” Now, we double dare you. Look into his eyes and see a Bernard. You couldn’t do it either, could you? Sometimes a name is just pitch perfect. Like Boo Boo — which Forest Service firefighters bestowed upon the bruin that they found, clinging to a charred tree, suffering from second-degree burns on his paws. A tribute, of course, to animated icon Yogi Bear. And a bit of upbeat whimsy, befitting one of the few feel-good stories from a tough fire season. Then the Idaho Humane Society tried to mess with perfection. Yes, Wikipedia says Bernard comes from “Bern-hard,” Germanic for “bear-hardy” or “brave as a bear.” It still sounds clunky/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Which name do you prefer for bear cub burn victim — Bernard or Boo Boo?
This undated photo provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game shows a cub black bear burned in the Mustang Fire north of Salmon, Idaho. Idaho Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew says a number of facilities offered to care for the 4-month-old cub nicknamed “Boo Boo.” He says the Idaho Humane Society was selected Friday because of the cub's medical and other needs. Drew says the cub weighs just 23 pounds but his appetite is good and the wounds have stabilized, seem to be improving and do not appear to have any infection. The cub was discovered Aug. 26 clinging to a tree in the eastern Idaho backcountry recently scorched by a massive wildfire near Salmon. Efforts to find the bear's mother were unsuccessful. Story here. (AP Photo/Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Tricia Hebdon)