Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care treating high volume of burned bears in Washington wildfire
The Union News service
Things just keep getting busier at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which took in a 10th black bear for treatment Monday morning.
Ten is the most bears the South Lake Tahoe wildlife rehabilitation center has ever had in for treatment at one time.
Seattle-based pilot Bill Inman flew the yearling bear nicknamed “Cinder” in a one-seat plane to South Lake Tahoe from Wenatchee, Wash., after the bear was injured in a wildfire. A homeowner who found the bear gave the animal its nickname.
Wildlife officials in Washington sent the bear to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care because of its experience treating animals with burns.
In 2008, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care treated a bear cub nicknamed “Li’l Smokey” that was injured in a wildfire near Redding. The bear’s badly burned paws healed after several months and the animal was released back into the wild in February 2009.
“Cinder” weighed 39 pounds when brought to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. The bear has extensive burns to its paws, legs and face. Veterinarian Kevin Willitts examined the bear on Monday morning and will prepare a treatment plan for the animal.
“Our hope, our goal, with every animal, is to get them released back into the wild in the best possible health,” said Tom Millham, who runs Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care with his wife, Cheryl, and a team of volunteers.
It’s been a busy year for the nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center, which plans to move forward with a relocation and expansion to a 27-acre parcel near the corner of Al Tahoe Boulevard and Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe.
Aside from the record 10 bears in for treatment, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care is also treating a goose, a dozen raccoons, three red-tail hawks, two great horned owls and some other animals it doesn’t see many of, including a flying squirrel, yellow-bellied marmot and spotted skunk.
“It’s been a busy summer with a lot of different species,” Millham said. He estimates the group will care for 600 to 800 animals this year.
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