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Neurological disorders leave California bears vulnerable


The California Bureau of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is concerned about a growing number of bears with rare neurological disorders appearing in neighborhoods. This came after an incident when a small black bear showed up at a utility construction site last month in Pollock Pines in El Dorado County. The young bear was too small, full of ticks, and looked weak; it did not exhibit the bear’s normal behavior, instead taking food and pets from humans.

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The thing is in Pollock Pines not the first of its kind. Over the past 12 months, there have been similar encounters, with 3 other bears showing signs of neurological abnormalities. The bear found in Pollock Pines was diagnosed and killed.

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“Anytime is the wild animal As far as we are concerned, the best possible result is the return to the wild, ”says Munk. “That’s just not possible for these neurotic bears. The second best result would be a long, healthy life at a reputable zoo or wildlife sanctuary, but any encephalitis would have important implications for the bear individual. and can have lasting consequences. “

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Diagnosis of affected bears shows that they suffer from a condition known as encephalitis. This refers to inflammation of the brain tissue, usually caused by a virus or bacteria infection. Scientists have discovered 5 new viruses that can be related to encephalitis. However, Munk says the team has yet to find the exact cause of the affected bears’ condition.

“At this time, we don’t know what causes encephalitis so we don’t know the health risks these bears can pose to other animals, if any,” Munk notes.

Unfortunately, the diagnosis was made bear has gone through treatment but shows no signs of recovery. Munk says that even if the animals are sent to animal sanctuaries, they will become a huge burden on the facilities.

“A few bears like this that we have placed don’t seem to fully recover, some need significant medical management for the bear’s life, which is a huge burden,” Munk said. for facilities that typically operate on a tight budget, ”says Munk.

+ The California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Photos by Kirsten Macintyre and Shelly Blair

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