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. pvbh40

    This is what states that care about wildlife do, rather than the way Minnesota DNR officials do, Minnesota shoots first and then makes excuses why??

    September 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blinky

    It's too sad to think about, but glad to hear he's expected to make a full recovery. Thanks to the Idaho Humane Society for making a success story.

    September 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BuckUpUS


    September 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jellylee2020

    Is he related to Honey Boo Boo?

    September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • motiki

      no this boo boo bear is not related to a spoiled white trash brat!! not even in the same league

      September 8, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. McIver3

    I'm sure Boo Boo misses his mama Bear. How sad that people's actions harm our wildlife like this. Arsonists or careless campers ought to be able to be sued by the animal kingdom in loco parentis. I'm glad this cute (but wild) bear is healing.

    September 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. May

    Bless your heart boo boo, get well soon!

    September 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sharon

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with helping mother nature and her critters. Thank you to those who helped this bear. Mother nature lost many other animals to the fire....this is sad....but good is when this beautiful wild bear heals and returns back to mother natures land......

    September 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sharon lyn

    There is nothing wrong with helping mother nature and her critters....Thank you so much to all who helped this wild bear. I know Mother Nature thanks you too! So many other critters lost their lives in the fire....but this bear is lucky and I am sure grateful....

    September 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dizzyd

    Why is it even heartwarming stories bring out all the trolls? Seriously!

    September 7, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Alissa

    What a great story. I just hope the bear is able to adapt back to the wild and that this story has a happy ending.

    September 7, 2012 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Epidi

    Don't know how they will get him back to the wild, he's so young. They stay with their mothers a looong time to learn everything they need to know to survive. Good luck and I hope the lil guy recovers & makes a good life for himself.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ann

    What a darling baby bear! Hate that he has been through so much. Thanks to all that brought him help!

    September 8, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • donminnjay

      please send the cubbie to NORTHERN LIGHTS WILDLIFE SOCIETY so boo boo can be with other orphan bears, to grow an have happiness ! he needs other cubbies to play with, an please dont keep him all by himself.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lazarus DSouza

    this humanness, shown to the baby bear, should put the wicked people to shame! they woukd only know if they were in the bear's place! Alas, they will never know! 'Cause, they know to dodge the fire, & the law!

    September 9, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. dav

    What a waste of time and money.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Smith

      Your entire life is a waste of oxygen and nutrients.

      September 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Smith

      And given a choice between saving the life of this bear, and saving the life of you and your entire family for ten generations, I would chose the bear without the slightest hesitation.

      September 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sherry lindee

      You are an ignorant person-I am not wasting my time saying anything else.

      September 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MashaSobaka

    Nice to know that there are still people out there who are compassionate enough to save the life of an injured animal. Man thanks to these fine people.

    September 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
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