A bear found burned on all four paws is recovering at a Lake Tahoe wildlife rehabilitation center where a cub six years ago suffering similar wounds was nursed back to health.
Cinder, a badly burned 38-pound female, was flown to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center on Monday from Washington, where she was found with injuries suffered in the Carlton Complex fire.
Cheryl Millham, a founder of the Lake Tahoe center, said the bear is in an isolation cage. She will be rendered unconscious every other day to have her dressings changed.
Cinder, who is on antibiotics and painkillers, will have her wounds cleaned and burn ointment applied when bandages are changed. The toes have to be kept apart or they will heal together.
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The treatment for Cinder is similar to what was done for Li’l Smokey, a black bear cub burned on his paws during Shasta County fires in 2008. Li’l Smokey was rescued by a firefighter.
“We got Li’l Smokey the day after he was burned,” Millham said. “That is why we got this one, because we are the only ones who worked on a bear cub with third-degree burns on all four feet.”
Li’l Smokey was released into the wild after recovery. He was tracked for almost two years before the batteries on his transmitter went dead.
“He did fantastic,” she said. “He’s still out there.”
Cinder apparently was crawling along the ground using her elbows to pull her along because her feet were so painfully burned, Millham said. The bear also has wounds on her elbows as a result.
Originally thought to be a cub, Cinder is actually about 18 months old. She is small, but the length of her muzzle and her teeth indicate that she was not born this year, Millham said.
“And she’s got the mentality of a young teenager, which makes her harder to work with,” said Millham with a laugh.