September 6th, 2012
10:27 AM ET

Baby black bear healing after being burned in wildfire, officials say

Could Boo Boo be the next Smokey Bear?

Idaho officials say the popularity of a baby black bear given the name Boo Boo, who was rescued after being burned in a wildfire, may help remind people of the wide consequences of wildfires.

"People from all over the country have asked after the bear," Idaho Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "Many have asked about contributing money to offset the cub's medical treatment costs."

Boo Boo was brought to the Idaho Humane society after firefighters found him last week while battling the Mustang Complex Fire that has scorched more than 250,000 acres in Idaho.

“He’s healing nicely,” Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, Director of the Idaho Humane Society said. “His pads and toes are no longer bleeding and new skin is already forming on the burned portions.”

Officials said the bear, which weighed 23 pounds when they first rescued it, is expected to make a full recovery. And Boo Boo is starting to act more like you'd expect of a black bear.

“Eating like a little pig, very feisty, and not very social,” Rosenthal said. “He charges the cage front whenever anyone gets near, trying to scare us off.”

Photos of the bear after he was rescued last week show how rescue workers wrapped his paws in red gauze and gave him medication.

KBOI: View more photos of Boo Boo

"When they see Boo Boo, they can see what can happen when fire gets out of control," Cyd Weiland with the Boise National Forest told CNN affiliate KTVB. "Having Boo Boo, having Smokey Bear, is a really good reminder to always be careful with fire."

After the bear was found, rescuers began to treat wounds on his paws.

The bear clung to a tree when rescuers first approached him and was hobbling on his paws.

"Fires burn in the woods and in the mountaintops, and it drives all the animals down," Larry Colozzi, an engine boss with the U.S. Forest Service Fire Department, told KTVB. "(Boo Boo) was on the trail hurt. We got about 10 or 15 feet from him and took some pictures of him and then we got a little closer and he kind of scampered up a tree. His paws were hurt so he was going kind of slow."

The executive director of the Idaho Humane Society said the bear will be treated by vets each day to make sure it heals, but they also have to make sure the bear doesn't get attached to those caring for him to ensure he can safely be returned to the wild.

"The first goal is to save Bernard, or Boo Boo's life, and the second priority is to try to make sure that he doesn't get used to being around people," Jeff Rosenthal told KTVB.

The Humane Society said it had received $1,000 in donations and food for the bear just over the past couple of days.

"The donations are very much appreciated, but what we really need now are berries of any kind, be they strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or whatever,” Rosenthal said. “But no more apples, please. We have enough donated apples to bake him an apple pie every day this month."

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Filed under: Fire • Idaho
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. OrDem

    Smokey the bear was one of the best ad "tools" for fighting forest fires, caused by careless people. I would imagine "Boo Boo" could be used in much the same way, whether he can be released back into the wild or not.

    September 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • BSDetector

      So true. I still remember the PSA's from almost 50 years ago.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Patrish

    Can't tell if you are posting to get attention, or just to show off your stupidity – either way you are what's wrong with this country and why it won't be back on track for a long time.

    September 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peter Grenader

    Josie – you wanna play that game, really? Some of us democrats, me included – never lost our backbone and I will go toe to toe with your jazz anytime, anywhere. Your guys messed this country up for eight years and now you have the gaul to ask for it back, are you kidding me?. Two years after Mitch McConnell swore to put his party before his country and do everything to assure Obama is a one term president, the country is STILL ON THE MEND and our president has created more new jobs in three and a half years than your last guy did IN EIGHT.

    ANd you think this blue blood's gonna do a better job, with his firing record?

    September 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. little mister©

    He's so cute

    September 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CainusWatcher

    This bear is too young to be released back into the wild on its own. Separated from its mother; no doubt, and needs to be with her another year or more. The Idaho Fish and Game conservation unit are pulling your legs in hopes people's ignorance about bear/mother relationships and development shine through. They don't want responsibility for the bear because it costs too much to care for, so they tell you what you want to hear.

    If they were to release it even months from now, most likely it will die from hunger or predation by other bears or predators. It's a deferred death sentance.

    Best plan of action would be to send it to a 'no touch' sanctuary until its big enough to fend for itself, but how can you teach it to live like a bear? It really needs a suragate wild mother bear. Not something that I am aware exists. I think Marty Stouffer did it but he ended up being a fraud, so no telling.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Second best is to raise it with dogs, like Bart the Bear. Dogs are good role models for human interaction. If it's going to limp and die young in the wild, keep it as a friend.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GT66

    Josie, looks like all the people responding to you have never watched the Colbert Report!

    September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ranger Bob

    I would actually rather be with animals, then some humans. Animals provide unconditional love. I'am glad boo, boo will be ok..............It is people that make bears mean, stop feeding them in the wild, that is why you get hurt, and stop tying to mess with there young. Humans cause there own problems. Wise up!!!

    September 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam I. Am

      People also get hurt by NOT feeding bears. Sometimes a bear is simply defending against a perceived threat to itself or its young. Bears will be bears. We attribute human emotions and traits, such as "meanness" when they are just doing what they do best: being a bear. That means they will sometimes attack each other, animals, or people. Male bears will sometimes attack and kill cubs. Mean? Nope. They don't know anything about it. But you are right, when people mess with bears by feeding or provoking, they're asking for trouble. And it's usually the bear that pays for it in the end. All just for being a bear.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Hey Boo Boo! When you get better, let's go steal a picnic basket!

    Your pal Yogi

    September 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JibbaJabba

    I love that they saved this little bear. It's so cute!

    September 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Has anyone seen my damn picnic basket anywhere?

    September 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heaher King


      September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. citizenUSA

    Boo-boo with boo-boos. At least it's not Honey boo-boo. What would we do? Do you?

    September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria Z

      I agree Citizen USA. I haven't seen Honey Boo Boo show,but by the previews it looks stupid. I too would rather see a real Boo Boo baby bear,than the spoiled sassy brat Honey Boo Boo. I hope the little bear gets well soon. Thank you Fire Dept,Humane Society,and contributors for caring.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed G.

      Tune in next week when Honey Boo Boo feeds Boo Boo honey!

      September 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hollywood

    Hope the little guy heals well and can be eventually released back into the wild where he can be home. We dont need any more mascots.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. popcorn

    Looks like teddy bear.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • J B

      Just wait till the ketamine wears off–though in all seriousness he is cute 🙂

      September 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    I don't know why God created bear that scratch and attack humans. Why can't bears be more friendly?

    September 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam I. Am

      Bears are just being bears, they don't know anything else. Humans, on the other hand, know the consequence of their actions. You are far more likely to be injured or killed by a fellow human. So in your question, change the word "bear" to human. It's a much more valid question that way!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenUSA

      Because they see the nice homes we live in and smell the good food we eat. They're jealous.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • AllLifeIsPrecious

      By reading Genesis 2;19 and Isaiah 11:6-9 , Animals was once friendly toward human and , in the future will be again. just not right now.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • human animals

      I don't know why God created people who trash every environment and kill every creature they come across. Why couldn't God have stopped after the animals?

      September 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Why can't humans stop screwing up their habitat?

      September 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AllLifeIsPrecious

    I like this type of ending...

    September 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
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