A six-month-old black bear who was found on the side of an Oregon road in critical condition is in recovery after veterinarians say she passed a recent check-up with "flying colors."
"When she was first found, she was severely dehydrated and in mid-stage of starvation," said Mark Coleman, community relations manager at PAWS, an animal rehabilitation center in Lynnwood, Wash. "She was actually found with her brother, but he didn't make it."
Coleman said it is likely the pair had been without their mother for several days.
"This happens often. It's most generally how we get our cubs," Coleman said. "The mother bear will be shot or hit by a car and then we'll find the orphaned cubs."
But now, a month later, veterinarians say the bear, who was the smallest cub they've found in recent memory, is doing just fine.
"She's in great shape," Coleman said. "We were checking for mange and she got a good ear cleaning. There were probably 50 cue-tips involved," he joked. She also had routine blood work done.
"She passed with flying colors and she's getting very feisty," he said.
When the bear was first brought to PAWS a month ago, she was put on a milk replacement formula to slowly bring her back to a regular food regiment. Luckily, she had no injuries.
Bears are kept in isolation when they are brought to the rehabilitation center because the ultimate goal is to release them back into the wild.
"If we have other bears here, which we often do, they'll cohabitate together but we keep them away from human interaction as much as possible so when they come back out they're not too comfortable with humans," Coleman said. "We don't want them to think they can go up to a campsite and then they get shot."
The people working at PAWS take measures to ensure they don't get attached to the bears either.
"We don't name the animals here," Coleman said. "We don't want to get attached when we know we have to send her back home."
The bear will be re-released into the wild in the spring of 2013. She will be sent back to Oregon.
"We always return them to where they're found so if they do have family or extended family, they're able to find each other," Coleman said.
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