USA — A bear cub that was found badly burned during a massive wildfire in Washington state last summer has recovered from her injuries and was released back into the wild, an official said on Thursday.
The two-year-old cub, named Cinder because she survived the blaze but had her paws severely burned, endured a lengthy recovery but was “very suitable for release” into the wild, said Rich Beausoleil of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Cinder was found starving and hiding under a horse trailer last August as the Carlton Complex wildfire ripped through about 400 square miles (13,600 hectares) of parched forest east of the Cascade Mountains, some 120 miles (193 km) northeast of Seattle.
When she was found, the 39-pound (18-kg) black bear cub’s paws were so badly burned that she was crawling on her elbows, state wildlife experts said.
After her rescue by state wildlife officials, Cinder was flown to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in California for rehabilitation. After her paws healed up enough, she was sent to the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Center to hibernate for the winter.
On Wednesday, the young black bear was released back into the forest near Wenatchee, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, outfitted with a GPS collar, Beausoleil said.
She now tips the scales at 125 pounds (57 kg) and had a “great” recovery, he said.
Cinder won’t be alone as she resumes her life as a wild bear. She was released with a friend from the Idaho rehabilitation center, a young male black bear named Kaulana.