Bear update: No happy ending for this 3R youngster

Bear update: No happy
Kyle Stark, Three Rivers resident deputy, gently coaxes a young wayward bear out of harm’s way to await the arrival of the game warden. After the incident, Deputy Stark said helping the local wildlife is what he enjoys most about the Three Rivers job.

Bear + Human Contact = Dead Bear

When an American black bear comes into contact with humans, the ending is often predictable. The bear is euthanized.

In a local encounter on Thursday, August 6, when an 18-month-old male bear was thought to be intoxicated on rotting fruit and found wandering in close proximity to Highway 198, he was taken into custody by Daniel Torres, California Fish and Wildlife warden. At that time, there was hope that this youngster would be treated and released back into the wild. Bear update: No happy

A couple of decades ago, California had a well-funded wildlife rehabilitation program and more effort was devoted to release. There was even a bear retraining program in Lancaster, Calif., where human-habituated bears were reconditioned and returned to the wild. 

At the time of the 2008 recession, those programs were cut or eliminated altogether. Now, any bear older than a cub and weighing more than 50 pounds that has a human encounter worth reporting is, more often that not, euthanized. There is no state facility or private sanctuary that takes them.

Since the latest Three Rivers bear had no history of human contact, there was a chance he could survive. On Thursday, August 6, he spent the night at the state Fish and Wildlife facility below Terminus Dam. The next morning he was transported to a larger lab facility in Madera.

 “The young bear in Three Rivers who was accused of being inebriated was actually suffering from neurological disorders of unknown cause,”  Stephanie McNulty, spokesperson for the CFW’s Fresno office, reported. “When he arrived at the Wildlife Investigations Lab, he was immediately treated for dehydration and given copious IV fluids. The hope was that he had stumbled across a mild toxin and the fluids would help flush his system. Bear update: No happy

The bear was under the observation of two veterinarians and several times showed signs of improvement, followed by bouts of disorientation. Bloodwork did not show any abnormalities. On Saturday, August 15, veterinarians witnessed the bear have a substantial seizure followed by the disorientation. Based on his quality of life, the decision was made to euthanize the bear.

A necropsy was performed, and it indicated encephalitis. Tissue samples were taken to hopefully determine the cause of the encephalitis. A rabies test was also performed and was negative.

As a reminder, CDFW would like to ask anyone who sees a bear they believe is sick or injured, to report it to the local authorities right away and not attempt to pet or approach the bear, which is what some people did during the August 6 incident. Bear update: No happy

Three Rivers bear update

Bear update: No happy
The young bear is ready for transport to a state Fish and Wildlife facility. The most striking feature of seeing this bear up close was the large paws on such a young bear that he never got the chance to grow into. 

7 thoughts on “Bear update: No happy ending for this 3R youngster

  • August 21, 2020 at 6:33 am

    RIP Baby Bear Cub… ;(

  • August 21, 2020 at 8:22 am

    This is such a sad ending! Poor little creature. it sounds as though all effort was made to help him, which is a good thing.

  • August 21, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Never good news for naturalists and animal lovers. Thanks for helping us to grapple with and understand the outcome.

  • August 21, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Little guy would have had a short, miserable lIfe, so this is so humane—-but it still yanks at my heart.

  • August 22, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Sounds to me like procedures were in place and local professionals cared
    for and treated this unfortunate bear in a caring and humane fashion. This is a positive story that 3R bear was cared
    for…yes, unfortunately the bear did not survive, but what alternative makes sense for bear and sustainable policy?

  • August 22, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Thank you to Kyle Stark, and all the vets and workers who tried to save this poor bear. They did everything they could to help him. R.I.P.
    Gentle baby.


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