While the human tragedy caused by the devastating wildfires of Northern California can’t be understated, wildlife in the region has also gone through difficult times dealing with wildfire. But some can survive the flames and eventually make new homes in the wilderness of NorCal.
That’s exactly the case of the bear badly burned in the Bear Fire (part of the North Complex Fire) that was recently released back into the wild from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The male bear, weighing an estimated 370 pounds, was located near the town of Berry Creek in Butte County following a tip. Suffering from burns to all four paw pads, the bear was unable to walk on his own when he was found, tranquilized and treated by CDFW Wildlife Veterinarians.
In addition to the burned paws, the bear was also suffering from a minor eye injury and showed radiographic signs suggesting possible lung injury from smoke inhalation. The CDFW vets determined that the injuries were potentially treatable and the bear was a candidate for rehabilitation and eventual release. The bear was given a suite of treatments, which includes administering pain medication and fluids to correct dehydration, debriding and cleaning the burned paw pads, using infrared laser treatment, applying a specially formulated anti-inflammatory/pain salve to the burns, and suturing sterilized tilapia skins atop the burned tissue.
On October 5, the veterinarian deemed him ready to be released back into the wild and CDFW officials brought him about 25 miles near where he was found, in an area unburned by the North Complex Fire. See the video of his release:
Great job from the CDFW helping the wildlife impacted by these wildfires. Run free bear!