As you know, CranBeary Bear went back to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine on Friday, February 3. The curators were concerned about the little yearling’s failure to climb trees, as his siblings were doing (and as all bear cubs and yearlings do). He also appeared to be having some problems navigating the uneven terrain in the enclosure. When they put him back in the Hartley House, he was having an easier time walking on the smooth, flat floor, but in the Wild Enclosure he had problems with his front legs. Even in Hartley House, it seemed that he was doing an “army crawl,” walking on his forearms. We hoped that the vets and specialists who examined him would be able to solve the problem.
They did, but it was not a solution that any of us would have chosen. They found that CranBeary suffered from a malformation of his arm joints that was very likely genetic. As he had gained weight, it had become increasingly difficult and painful for him to walk. Not only was he unable to climb, but he would never be able to achieve that skill that is of paramount importance to a bear. Eventually, this disability would render him completely immobile.
The vets shared this heartbreaking news with the national park rangers who were in charge of him, and the decision was made to humanely euthanize the little yearling.
CranBeary was a brave and strong little bear. His mother had tried her best, and had nurtured him for ten months, even though we are sure that she knew of his limitations, and often bear cubs are abandoned for a less serious ailment. She deserved a “mother of the year” award.
It is with heavy hearts that we write this post, but we will cherish the memory of little CranBeary Bear. We are glad to report that the other two Christmas Yearlings, and little Nettles next door are doing well. We’ll post about them tomorrow.
Rest in Peace, little one! You were much loved.