Sunday, June 16, a hungry, thirsty and frightened bear cub was searching for the mother he lost during the Thompson Ridge Fire on the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
Firefighters working the line came across the cub a day earlier and decided to add him to their monitoring duties. They watched from a distance as he climbed trees and scampered in and out of the tall grass. But when it became obvious a mother-cub reunion would not come in time to save the toddler’s life his buddies on the fire line called for help.
New Mexico Game and Fish Department was summoned to collect the cub and transported him to Espanola where he was placed in the capable hands of Dr. Kathleen Ramsay DVM.
“The cub had first and second degree burns on his left rear foot and a second degree burn over his left eye” said Ramsay; however, there was one major complication that required additional TLC. “He wasn’t weaned.”
Ramsay immediately began bottle feeding the bear which lasted for several days. Then one day he pushed the bottle away and began eating solid food.
“It was as if he was saying “I got this. I’ll take it from here,” she said.
Ramsay notes that another cub in her care has gained 24 lbs. during the last three weeks. While the Valles Caldera cub (whom Ramsay affectionately refers to as “Redondo Bear’) might not grow that fast, he does have a good start.
During the first week under Ramsay’s care, the cub has packed on a hefty 1.5 lbs. and now tips the scales at 6.4 lbs.