We, along with everyone who educates about bears and coexistence, repeat over and over that “Garbage Kills Bears.”  Our cautionary tales concern two of ABR’s yearling bears who would have died from the ingestion of garbage/trash before they were rescued and brought to ABR.  You may remember the story of Milo Bear (#236) who was admitted in late December, 2015.  He became lethargic and was not eating, so he returned to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, where his tummy was shaved for an ultrasound and a day later his stomach was pumped.  It was learned that Milo had eaten trash that was causing a blockage and preventing him from eating and eliminating properly.

Here is a photo of Milo now, relaxing in a tree in Wild Enclosure #3.  He is doing well and eating all the food he wants and needs to make him a healthy yearling.  If not for the intervention, however, Milo would not have survived.

Milo

Milo is doing well. His shaved tummy is growing fur again.

Cornelius Bear (#245) arrived at ABR a week ago and has been in an Acclimation Pen while he took his worm medicine.  There weren’t any danger signs as with Milo, and Cornelius seemed to be eating normally.  But suddenly overnight, he produced a very large quantity of scat.  And when the curator cleaned out the pen, he discovered that a balloon had been eliminated along with the scat!  It was clear that the balloon had been causing some blockage, and acting as a plug.  When the balloon was expelled, a great deal of scat came with it.  We are sure that Cornelius feels much better and will be able to eat, eliminate, and go about the business of being a yearling bear.

We don’t generally post photos of bears’ scat, but the curator took this one just before he cleaned out the pen, and we can see how backed up this little bear had been.

Cornelius-scat

Cornelius Bear produced an unusually large amount of scat overnight.

We titled this post as cautionary tales, for good reason.  These two stories point out how very dangerous our trash is when ingested by bears and other wildlife.