An injured black bear cub, rescued from the Mustang Fire burning north of Salmon, has quickly become a national celebrity.
The young bear's story of fire-related injuries and rescue by U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game personnel spread across the country in a matter of hours. In the days since, both Boise National Forest and Idaho Fish and Game offices have been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from people offering good wishes and monetary support. Many others have asked about volunteer opportunities to care for the young cub.
"We've heard from folks all across Idaho, and from other states including California, Texas and New York," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "Each note or phone call has the same common theme - concern for this young bear. It's very gratifying to know that so many people care."
With second-degree burns on all four paws, the young bear faces a long recovery.
"Infection is the main concern right now," Oneale said. "At this time, our state veterinarian is evaluating local facilities that can give the cub the medical attention it needs to make a full recovery."
Meanwhile, the cub is being cared for at a Fish and Game facility where it is eating regularly and receiving necessary medical care.
Monetary donations have been one of the common themes among people contacting the office.
"We have no good mechanism to accept donations related to this bear cub's treatment," Oneale said. "Once a care facility is selected, we'll let people know where and how they can provide funding to cover the costs of care and treatment."