A strange creature was roaming the streets of Ramona, California. The creature wasn’t something any of the residents had ever seen before, so they were really curious about it. Some were even scared by its appearance. People were shocked when authorities finally realized what the creature was.
In December of 2017, the unknown creature was spotted prowling through dumpsters and garbage bins, looking for food in the middle of the night. People that heard the animal assumed that it was just a raccoon, but people who had actually seen it knew that it couldn’t be a raccoon because it was pink and hairless. Those that had knowledge of wildlife thought that the animal needed help, and they were right.
Park ranger Angel Willoughby lives in the area where the strange creature was roaming. Angel and his other family members spotted it near their home. Because of the creature’s blotchy skin, Angel assumed that the creature was in need of help. They knew they needed to capture it and call wildlife experts, but it definitely wouldn’t be easy.
The creature was chased up a tree by the family’s dog, so they tried to find a way to capture it. Finally, the family lured the creature towards a huge trash can and it was trapped. After taking a picture of the strange animal, they sent the image to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It was unbelievable, but the staff thought they might know what the creature was.
The CDFW had recently received reports a week prior about a creature in Forbestown, in Butte County. That creature was also spotted rummaging through people’s trashcans. The creatures were the same size, but they looked different. If the two creatures were indeed one in the same, it was in a lot of trouble.
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center was contacted by CDFW. The CDFW told them about the creature’s situation and that the CDFW might need their help caring for it. The FAWC began preparing a recovery room for the creature, in case the animal was sent their way. It wasn’t long before everyone knew what the animal was.
The CDFW picked up the animal on December 23rd, and they knew immediately what it was. The odd creature was actually a California black bear cub! It couldn’t have been older than a year. But why didn’t the cub have any hair? The CDFW staff thought that maybe she had a skin disease, but they would have to examine her to be sure.
Once the cub was given a bath, the staff gave her a complete exam. Finally they had some answers. The little cub had mange. Mange is a condition cause by parasitic mites. It’s passed to animals from direct contact with an animal who is infected. The staff assumed that the bear cub’s mother transmitted it to her. They figured that the mother died from it and the little bear was left to take care of herself. If they wanted to save her life, rescuers would have to get to work fast.
Once they heard what was wrong with the bear, FAWC began to make special preparations for her arrival. They moved any unnecessary obstacles from the recovery room. They also removed the straw bedding, so the cub’s skin wouldn’t become even more irritated, which would cause her skin condition to get worse. It was time for the CDFW to determine how bad the cub’s illness was.
One of the main symptoms of mange is the hair loss, but there are other side effects, as well. The irritated skin can be really itchy, causing the animal to scratch at it, which can lead to severe damage. And because mange can weaken an animal’s immune system, they’re at a higher risk for infection. Surprisingly, the bear cub had no other infections and she wasn’t emaciated. It looked like the bear could make a full recovery, so they sent her to the FAWC for treatment.
On Christmas Eve, the cub was taken to the FAWC. The volunteers that took her to the Center thought she needed a name, even though the center doesn’t name their patients. They decided to name the little girl “Eve.” Considering that the FAWC is one of the only places in California that is capable of taking care of black bears, Eve was in great hands, but her road to recovery was a long one.
The bacteria and mites on Eve’s skin needed to be killed, so they began giving her medicated baths. After, she was put into a sterilized room to avoid getting other infections. Even though Eve had no idea where she was, she quickly adapted. Eve responded well to food and her supplements. It wasn’t long before her personality began to shine.
The staff began to notice that Eve was a hard-working bear. Every day, Eve would leave her igloo to explore her room for things that she could shred to make herself a bed for that night. Eve had furs, blankets, palm fronds, and eventually, she was given some straw bedding, as well. Staff members were enchanted by Eve’s behavior, as well as her progress.
After only three weeks, Eve was already 25 pounds heavier. She was given a full-body massage, a cleansing bath to get rid of crusty, dead scabs, and a complete health examination. Eve handled everything very well. Soon her skin will health and grow brand new fur. Until then, the community spoils Eve with tasty treats as the Center continues caring for her.
It looks like Eve will stay at the Center for at least six months. She seems to enjoy it. Eve has a comfortable den with a heated floor, and she gets to spend her days building nests for herself. Guests have stopped by to bring Eve yummy fruits and veggies. She was even brought some delicious salmon! The staff is confident that Eve is on the road to a full recovery and she’ll be able to return to the forest before next Christmastime.