Sick bear cub found by TWRA in Townsend dies

WATE 6 On Your Side staff - TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE) -- A sick bear cub found in Townsend this week by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has died.

Officers found the little bear at the bottom of a deep ditch. Appalachian Bear Rescue says it was a male cub around 5-months-old and weighs 6-pounds.

The cub was sick and not moving.

However, he was not alone when TWRA found him. His mother and two siblings were watching on a nearby hill.

Appalachian Bear Rescue says the mom sent her two healthy and bigger cubs up a tree while she tried to return to her sick son.

The cub tried to keep up with the family. However, the cub and his mother eventually reached the end of trying after five months.

"She could do no more and he couldn't walk another step," said ABR.

The organization says this case was not abandonment but instead a family trying to do what it could.

The bear was sent to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. He was treated for dehydration and very low blood sugar. He stayed in the facility's ICU overnight but went into seizure around 4 a.m. Blood tests showed he had a massive infection that may have affected its nervous system.

The decision was made to end the bear's suffering after much deliberation.

The bear was named after the person who treated him, Dr. Julie Sheldon. It was Sheldon's last day at UT and he was the last bear she examined for ABR.

The organization says Sheldon Bear had a seizure and results of a blood test determined he had an infection that was impacting his nervous system.  After more seizures, it was decided that it was time to end the bear's suffering.

"We regret we couldn't do more to save this little bear. We appreciated your compassion and understanding," said ABR in a Facebook post.

ABR treats orphaned and injured black bear cubs in order for them to return to the wild. Its rescue facility is closed to the public.

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