August Update - Tracking Boo Boo
Tracking Boo Boo via his GPS-enabled collar tells us that Boo Boo has been wandering up to 10 miles from where he was released.
Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary
BOO BOO THE BURNED BEAR CUB HEADS BACK TO THE WILD ON FOUR HEALTHY PAWS
McCall, ID, May 29, 2013—Boo Boo, the black bear cub rescued from the Mustang fire near Salmon last August with severely burned paws, was successfully released into the central Idaho forest yesterday after 9 months of recuperating at Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall, Idaho.
Boo Boo was unable to walk when firefighters found him clinging to a tree. After initial treatment by Dr. Mark Drew, Idaho Fish and Game veterinarian, Boo Boo spent 2 weeks in intensive care at the Idaho Humane Society before being transferred to Snowdon. Throughout the fall and winter another ten orphaned cubs joined Boo Boo in the two-acre forested bear enclosure. By May the cubs were eating about 200 lbs of food a day. Boo Boo grew from a 25 lb cub when rescued to 95 lbs at the time of his release. “He’s in excellent health” reported Jeff Rohlman, wildlife biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game who supervised the transfer. “He’s 30-40 lbs heavier than cubs of this age typically are in the wild.”
Before release, each cub has to be enticed into a large culvert trap so it can be transported from Snowdon to a suitable remote release site. Boo Boo was the first cub to venture into the trap and thus the first released back to the wild. The remaining cubs will be released over the next several days. “They’re curious and always investigating new things” observes Lori Bagley, Snowdon rehabilitation manager, “so hopefully we’ll get a bear in each trap every night. They’re ready to go.”
Boo Boo is wearing a GPS collar that will record locations as he explores his new surroundings and eventually settles into a territory. The collar is designed to fall off within a year so it will not interfere with the bear’s growth. Once it drops off biologists will retrieve the collar and recover the data documenting Boo Boo’s travels. In the meantime, Boo Boo’s signal will be tracked once a month from the air by Fish and Game biologists when they fly radio location surveys for deer and elk.
Given the severity of Boo Boo’s burns, many initially thought he would spend his life in captivity, just like Smokey the Bear sixty years ago. Boo Boo’s new beginning as a wild bear is a fitting ending to a story that began with the compassion of firefighters and endured with concern from people across the country who supported his care at Snowdon.
January - May 2013
Along with 10 other black bear cubs, Boo Boo has adjusted well to life at Snowdon in a 2-acre natural habitat and was able to put on some much-needed weight in the fall. Although he will not go into a deep hibernation like an adult bear would, now that temperatures are low and snow is on the ground, Boo Boo has slowed down.
Usually, cubs at this age are still with their mothers and spend the winter in a den they have dug. We’ve built some shelters out of natural vegetation in the cub enclosure at Snowdon. Boo Boo spends a few days at a time sleeping in one of these man-made dens with another cub. Then he wakes up to chow down on dog food at the food hopper, as well as on fruits and vegetables that supplement his diet. Trail cameras record Boo Boos activity.
Above - Boo Boo (on the right) and his friend pulled out a lot of food from the hopper one day, making a big clean-up job for the Intern!
Boo Boo and one other cub began to spend time together - playing and climbing trees.
One of the methods used to monitor the cubs' behaviors is with trail cams. In this way we are able to see them during their night-time activities.