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. Tom in San Diego

    I hate it when someone says "Smokey Bear"! The original was: "Smokey "the" Bear"....Some lib renamed it later in the campaign and it sucks....

    SMOKEY THE BEAR, SMOKEY THE BEAR, SMOKEY THE BEAR, SMOKEY THE BEAR, SMOKEY THE BEAR, SMOKEY THE BEAR.......LOL....

    September 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CullThePopulace

    As long as they don't release him back in Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Minnesota or any of those other states where killing of bears, wolves and other apex predators seems to be the 'top of the list' of those state's past times, he'll be OK.

    Quit killing bears and wolves, idiots.
    The balance of nature needs them.

    September 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lemonjello

      Yep!

      September 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • prohunt

      I guess you are a Tree Hunger than. If people did not hunt than the balance would be OUT OF BALANCE. Before you start talking about something you dont know about, do your research and understand what hunters do for the population of animals and understand how much money we put back into conservation.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • FromID

      Ya let the animals get so out of control that they starve to death that's much easier to stomach.... calling people who truly know conservation idiots because they thin the population of animals is ignorant.

      BTW: these same idiots were the ones that wanted to log this Mustang area because there was a ton of beetle kill, but the environmentalists blocked logging, thus the fire cannot even be stopped until it snows. The ground is being sanitized by the extreme heat and nothing will grow there for at least 20 years.

      September 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lemonjello

    Would it, now? Why? Would you say that if a baby were burned?

    September 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WCWinger

    To John:
    Cast blame on Walt Disney, A.A.Milne, "Gentle Ben" and all the others who have portrayed bears as kind and gentle creatures. Too often they've been given "pet" qualities which misleads the ignorant and has them believe that bears are our buddies. There was a news article a few years ago when a woman in Yellowstone poured honey on her baby's hands and waited to take pictures of a bear licking the honey off. The bear ATE the child's hands and part of its forearms. Probably would have killed the child had the bear not been run off by the hysterical mother. Dumb you say? Well, where do you think she could get such an idea? Certainly not from the movies! Right!

    September 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alissa

      WCWinger: I see what you're saying but don't blame those who portray animals in such a way. That's equivalent to blaming violence on television or video games. We are all adults here and should know the difference between fiction and reality. It's time that the ignorant people of the world start taking some self accountability.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. KristinaKaye

    Smokey The Bear ... huffing and a puffing and a sniffing the air! Anyone remember the Smokey Song from the 50's?

    September 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ribidit

      Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
      Prowlin' and a growlin' and a sniffin' the air.
      He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
      That's why they call him Smokey,
      That was how he got his name.

      You can take a tip from Smokey
      that there's nothin' like a tree.
      'cause they're good for kids to climb in
      and they're beautiful to see,
      you just have to look around you
      and you'll find it's not a joke,
      to see what you'd be missin'
      if they all went up in smoke.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KristinaKaye

    Thank you Ribidit!

    September 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Some zoo ,preserve or rich person needs to adopt BOO BOO and do what can be done to train him
    for use as a REAL SMOKEY THE BEAR spokes BEAR.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Teresa

    So cute. Looks like teddy bear. Remeber he is a wild animal. Nice to see happy ending.

    September 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bubbish

    Gotta love those firefighters for bringing this beautiful creature out of danger and to safety. Poor little guy. I hope his mom and siblings (if any) made it to safety and out of the fire's reach.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. emily bacallao

    i like to watch cnnstudentnews when i am in u.s history

    September 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. supercutebear!

    What a cute bear! 😦 I just want to hug him...but he'd probably maul me to death. I'm worried about how he'll adapt in the wild without his mom. I hope this story turns out okay.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Has anyone seen my picnic basket?

    September 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • motiki

      Poor Boo Boo those paws look very sore! Get well soon so you can enjoy your pik a nik basket

      September 8, 2012 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mona

    Cute bear, glad he's doing well.

    September 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tara

    II think it is just worng

    September 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. talkic.com

    Boo boo bear...love it.

    September 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
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