A six-pound Florida black bear cub rescued from brush fires in Lake County has arrived at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for care and rehabilitation.
TAMPA, Fla. (April 12, 2016) – A six-pound Florida black bear cub rescued from brush fires in Lake County has arrived at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for care and rehabilitation. Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) transported the cub to the Zoo on Sunday, April 10 for nutrition and care as efforts to locate its mother continue, though unsuccessful so far. The Zoo is caring for the young cub using FWC protocols, as it has for numerous others, with the goal of reintroduction to wild habitat.
Estimated to be 9-weeks-old, the male cub was nicknamed “Smokey Junior” by his rescuers, Lake County Fire Rescue. Initial observations indicate the cub is alert and reactive with a good appetite. The cub has mild singeing of the hair, but otherwise appears healthy and strong. He is currently housed in the Zoo’s new veterinary hospital (outdoor holding area) where he will be closely monitored by the Zoo’s veterinary team with minimal interaction to reduce the likelihood of imprinting or habituation. When the cub reaches approximately 10-15 pounds, wildlife officials hope to transition him to another facility in preparation for release later this year.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo works with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to provide veterinary support for native Florida wildlife including manatees, panthers, black bears, bald eagles, whooping cranes and gopher tortoises. The newest arrival is the 13th black bear to receive care at the Zoo, which has provided a home for a total of five black bears including three current residents (two young females and an adult male).