Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On June 8, 2010, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS) received word that a small six-pound orphaned black bear cub, Scooter, was found and captured wandering at Excursion Inlet just west of Juneau, Alaska. He was motherless, alone, frightened and in poor health. When Scooter was found, he was malnourished, underweight and covered in lice. The local veterinarian only gave him a 20% chance of recovery. Scooter was sent to Fortress of the Bear for safe keeping until a home could be found. "Alaska typically does not take a wild animal into captivity unless it has a facility ready to accept it," says Tom Shumacher, Biologist at Alaska Game and Fish Dept, acknowledging that otherwise it would have been necessary to euthanize him. IEAS immediately responded to this call and accepted responsibility for his care throughout his life. The cub was picked up at Sitka, Alaska by Richard Gilbreth and allowed to ride in the airplane cabin due to the assistance of Alaska Airlines and their booking agent, Kerri. Scooter was a sensation on the plane ride back to his new home. Richard has even received calls and emails from caring passengers wanting to know how Scooter is doing.

Scooter’s first night at the Sanctuary was scary for him. He was in a new place and alone. However, the Staff of IEAS began giving Scooter the proper care and attention he needed. He quickly became bonded with staff members of IEAS and has benefited greatly from our Emotional Enrichment Program in which we provide him with a source of security, comfort and affection that he would have received from his mother. Scooter would waste no time at all to hop in the laps of his caregivers. When ever the staff goes in, Scooter comes right over whining like he would to his mother and sits in their lap. He loves attention and enjoys playing with the enrichment toys he was given.

When Scooter arrived at IEAS, he was free of lice, but he was still underweight for his age. Since his first day, Scooter has gained almost 20 pounds! He has taken to the formula and fruit we have given him. He has adjusted very nicely to his new home at IEAS.

The past few weeks, Scooter has progressed better than we could ever have imagined. He went from a frightened, malnourished orphan, to a healthy little bear cub who is going to have a wonderful childhood. He is already enjoying his habitat. He loves climbing up and down the trees and eating the grapes that are growing outside his habitat. We have given him a brush pile which he loves to play hide and seek in. He loves to dive on the pile and scurry down to the bottom only to pop out and take off running. One of Scooters favorite games is when we go to clean his inside area and he chases the hose and runs through the water. He loves racing back and forth splashing and sliding. He is like a little kid playing in the sprinkler on a hot summer day.

This is only one of many animals that are lucky enough to receive a second chance at a new life. The animals at IEAS are here through no fault of their own. I am sure Scooter would rather be roaming the mountains of Alaska with his mom. At IEAS, our number one goal is to give these animals the best quality of life possible in captivity. We all get a warm feeling in our heart when we are able to rescue an animal in need and in many cases, save them from death, to give them the quality of live they deserve. However, all this does come at a price. It is with the help of caring individuals that we are able rescue animals like Scooter. Donations are needed. If we hadn’t stepped in to rescue Scooter, then he would have been senselessly euthanized.

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