Rescued bear cub undergoes surgery

Posted at: 07/15/2013 10:00 PM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Nobody likes getting a shot in the rear end, but this little guy has been though a lot worse.

This seven-month-old bear cub was separated from its mother in the Thompson Ridge fire that burned on the Valles Caldera preserve last month.

The bear was found in the Redondo Peak area, crying in a tree. KOB Eyewitness News 4 showed you the pictures of the little guy after he was rescued. He had suffered some burns and had a fractured front limb.

The fracture is what a team at the VCA Hospital in Albuquerque was fixing Monday.

"It's a really young bear. It's actually not that big but the problem is these guys are going to grow rapidly and they tend to be forelimb walkers, and so they're going to put more weight on the forelimb," Dr. Ryan Taggert of the VCA Hospital said.

The little bear, nicknamed Redondo, will need a fully functioning limb if he's going to return to the wild.

It's not a difficult surgery, but a lot will depend on the recovery.

Dr. Taggert usually operates on dogs and cats, much tamer animals. Bears, even those as cute as Redondo, aren't exactly house pets.

"The only thing I worry about as a surgeon is that these darn bears are going to do whatever they want afterwards and I only get to see them today and hope everything's going okay," Dr. Taggert said.

Redondo will continue to recover at the Espanola Wildlife Center.