By Mark McConville
SHOCKING images and video footage have revealed the remarkable survival story of a black bear after it suffered from such a severe case of mange it was left BALD and looking like an overgrown rat.
The striking shots show the black bear completely hairless with cracked, dry, dead skin leaving visible black marks all over her body. Video footage shows staff at a wildlife centre working hard to treat the poor animal.
Other heart-warming shots show the progress the bear has made in six-months since being found on Christmas Eve, with footage showing her playing in her enclosure as she continues her recovery.
Eve, as she was nicknamed by staff at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in San Diego County, California, appeared to be suffering from mange so serious, she was completely bald and had small scabs all over her body.
She was found foraging for food in northern California by good Samaritans who called the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. But for that intervention, she would have almost certainly died from the cold. They brought Eve to the wildlife centre even as staff quickly prepared a recovery room and made sure we had all of the supplies ready to care for a young bear.
“Eve is a very resilient bear,” said Matthew Anderson, director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States.
“When she first arrived at our Wildlife Centre Eve was almost entirely hairless with one of the worst cases of mange our team had ever seen and required months of intensive treatment.
“It took a lot of blood work, biopsies, skin treatments and medication but we are finally making progress and she continues to get better and better. She has even increased her weight by 73 pounds since she arrived.
“Test results confirm what our expert medical team had hoped, she is finally clear of mange and that she is growing hair back more and more with every passing day. This is a long process though and she does still have a lingering inflammatory dermatological skin infection.
“She doesn’t quite look like a completely healthy bear yet but we are pleased that she is certainly behaving more like one. We believe she will respond well to this latest round of medication and be able to grow all of her hair back.
“In the meantime we are giving her the best quality of life possible. She is very active and enjoys playing in her pool, climbing trees and eating an abundance of food.
“Only time will tell us what tomorrow brings, but for now it is still our fervent wish that she is able to return to the wild one day.”
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location.
They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. Sometimes they become attracted to human communities because of the immediate availability of food.
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