Watch: Rescuers Provide Lifesaving Care to Orphaned Bear Cubs with Severe Burns From Wildfires

by Kati Kuuseoks
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Wildfires continue to burn in the West as thousands are left to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida along the Gulf Coast. Both natural disasters continue to devastate citizens across the nation. Unfortunately, the animals stuck in their path aren’t faring so well either. While people were given evacuation orders and plenty of warnings, the animals were left to tragically either burn or drown.

The good news is that heroes exist and their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. In the Gulf, air boats made it possible to start attempting livestock and farm animal recovery. Cows are being freed from thick mud and even trees. On the other hand, rescuers stationed near the wildfires’ path of destruction are able to start providing lifesaving care to animals in the area. One such organization leading these efforts is known as PAWS.

‘PAWS’ Wildlife Rescue

PAWS stands for “Progressive Animal Welfare Society.” In addition to regular cat and dog adoptions, the Washington-based organization is also a leader when it comes to wildlife welfare. From their website, it states that PAWS Wildlife Center operates a wildlife-specific ER. Moreover, they oversee specialized recovery facilities designed to rehabilitate sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife. Here, they restore the wildlife back to full health no matter how long it takes. Then, it’s always the mission to return them back to their wild population whenever possible.

Their specialized teams provide expert care for over 260 species of animals including marine life. Actually, PAWS marks only one of two facilities in Washington State allowed to rehabilitate American Black Bears and marine mammals.

Orphaned Bear Cubs From Wildfires Get Help

The recent uptick in bear admissions to the PAWS Wildlife Center is something they’ve never seen before. Their calls throughout the year are usually much tamer but, of course, the wildfires are to blame.

“What we’re seeing is extremely unusual,” said Jennifer Convy, PAWS Senior Director of Wildlife. “The number of severely burned bears coming to PAWS is not something I’ve seen in my 25 years at PAWS. Historically, burns have not been a common injury we’ve seen but we expect this may become more common and we’re prepared at PAWS to admit black bears and other wild species injured by wildfire.”

Seattle’s Q13 Fox shared an awe-inspiring snap of their rescue efforts that involved reviving a wee little cub who sustained massive burn injuries in the wildfires. A team of professionals surrounds the cub who looks very sickly as it lays on a blanket tarp sprawled out on the ground. Medicine and other supplies lay nearby in close reach.

Robert Downey Jr. once said,”I think that we all do heroic things, but hero is not a noun, it’s a verb.” We couldn’t think of something more true regarding PAWS’ efforts.

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