Update: August 29, 2012
The Idaho state veterinarian, Mark Drew, says the injured bear cub needs more help than previously thought. The cub, nicknamed Boo Boo, was burned in the Mustang Fire near Salmon. All four of his paws were severely burned.
Officials had hoped to take the cub to the Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall, but the facility is not equipped to give the bear the care he needs. He’s currently at a facility in Caldwell while officials locate an accredited hospital that can care for him. He’ll need constant attention, including bandage changes and antibiotics to prevent infection to his paws.
A bear cub, injured in the Mustang Complex Fire near Salmon, is being checked out by the state veterinarian.
David Olson with the Boise National Forest says the cub was spotted by fishermen Saturday morning all by itself in a Douglas Fir tree. “It was actually discovered in an area of the Salmon Challis National Forest where the Whiskey Flats Fire is burning which is tied to the Mustang Fire Complex and it was found downstream from the Corn Creek Boat Launch along the main Salmon River.”
The fishermen notified firefighters who, along with an Idaho Department Fish and Game Conservation Officer, rescued the bear. “It was by itself, the firefighters did look for the mother without any success, so the whereabouts of the mother are unknown at this point.”
The cub has 2nd degree burns to its paws and hasn’t eaten for several days.
If the state veterinarian thinks the bear can recover, he’ll be sent to the Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall. “They strive to treat wildlife that has been injured and then their whole hope is to be able to release those wildlife back into their native environment, their sanctuary is set up so there is very little human disturbance and they’ve had good success at being able to release animals over the years.”
Olson says it’s unusual to find an animal injured by a wildfire. “Most firefighters will tell you that they rarely see wildlife that’s directly impacted by a fire, most wildlife has the ability to move away from a wildfire and in many cases they’ve adapted to it over time just genetically.”
Olson says the goal is to eventually return the animal to the wild.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio