POULSBO – A young adult female black bear is recovering at a wildlife center in Lynnwood after getting hit by a car near Poulsbo in early December, wildlife officials said.
The 260-pound American black bear suffered a fractured pelvis in the incident, reported on December 2. Using big game tracking dogs, officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife were able to find the bear on December 7 and captured her with the help of a tranquilizer dart. Subsequent x-rays showed she also suffered fractured ribs.
A group of veterinarians and wildlife professionals volunteered their time to help save the bear, according to a press release from the nonprofit PAWS, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society.
On December 13 the bear was transported to the Woodland Park Zoo for surgery. The procedure was a complex one, officials said.
“It took the efforts of three veterinarians and six veterinary technicians to monitor her anesthesia and vital signs and secure the pelvic fragments into proper alignment with two metal plates” the release says.
Following surgery the bear was transported to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood to begin recovery.
Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, the PAWS veterinarian overseeing her care, said the bear is making “gradual improvement,” and that she has been “quietly healing.” The use of her leg appears “nearly normal,” she said.
Video of the bear taken recently shows her periodically resting on her straw bed and ambling around her enclosure. Her fur is shaved around the incision site.
The bear has been eating a diet of “dog food, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds” and other proteins, the release said. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and suet, PAWS’ Lauren Caruso said in the release.
“She’s very curious and we enjoy watching her explore her habitat when new enrichment items are added in her enclosure,” Caruso said.
Officials are anticipating a full recovery for the black bear and hope to release her back into the wild this spring.
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.