Ailing bear succumbs |

Ailing bear succumbs

Emily Aughinbaugh

A 3-month-old bear taken from Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care by the Department of Fish and Game died Thursday.

The cub’s body was sent to the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory at U.C. Davis for necropsy to determine the cause of death.

The cub was found at the end of May in Southern California and dropped off at the wildlife center, where foxtails were removed from its eyes.

Fish and Game took the bear four days after its arrival, despite BEAR League Director Ann Bryant’s attempts to keep it at the wildlife center.

“He was definitely coming along and improving when he was at our facility,” Bryant said. “We knew it when they took him it was going to compromise his health. Rather than being cared for by wildlife rehabilitators he was taken to a laboratory and cared for by scientists. Rehabbers care for the individual animal and its ability to be released. Fish and Game’s concern is for population viability.”

Fish and Game Public Information Officer Patrick Foy said all bears that come to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care have to undergo a physical check-up by Fish and Game veterinarians to be considered for rehabilitation.

Foy said the 15-pound bruin was in kidney failure, had nerve damage and was not a rehab candidate.

Foy said Fish and Game’s wildlife veterinarians worked hard to keep the cub alive. It sustained four seizures, the last one fatal.

“In hindsight, the humane thing would have been to euthanize that cub when its kidneys failed,” Foy said. “We did give it our best. Our wildlife veterinarian was down on her hands and knees giving chest compressions to the little cub and they failed. She felt bad. We all felt bad.”

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