California wildfires can have devastating effects on humans living near the fires. These fires can also be equally devastating for the wildlife populations in the area. One example of this is the 1 1/2 year old bear cub that was found with badly burned paws in the Whiskeytown National Recreation during the Carr Fire.
The female cub was found on August 2nd and transported to California Department of Fish Wildlife’s Investigations Lab in Rancho Cordova, where she has been receiving experimental treatments in hope that her burns will heal and can be returned to the wild.
The cub’s caretakers have been treating its burned paws with tilapia-skin bandages which has produced incredible results. The skin on the paws grew back quickly and now the cub no longer needs her front slippers, although more healing still needs to be done on the back paws. Staff members hope to heal her wounds, help her gain 5 to 10 pounds and reintroduce her wild instincts before returning her to her habitat.
“The bear is recovering very quickly and all signs are positive, so the main goal — other than continued treatments of her burned paws — is putting weight on her,” agency spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre said to the Record Searchlight.
While in care, the cub remains “spunky” and eats everything given to her, including fish, other meat, berries, nuts and insects. Sometimes, the cub will bluff-charge the staff, showing positive signs of her wild roots. Her living conditions include lounging in a hammock, roaming around her pen and swimming in her pool.
With the positive recovery efforts, officials will soon look to find the perfect place to reintroduce her to the wild.
“When we think we’re getting close, biologists in the Redding area will scout out an appropriate placement spot. We’ll be looking for unburned ground close to where she was found, with a water source and potential food and forage items nearby,” Macintyre said.
If you like this story, you can donate to the organization working on wild animal recovery projects here – https://give.ucdavis.edu/VMTH/V1TH270.