TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE) — A 14-month-old young bear has been euthanized after struggling to recover from malnourishment.

The Appalachian Bear Rescue stated on social media that Sparky Bear has “passed away” on March 31. The bear weighed only 9.4 pounds, which Appalachian Bear Rescue says is a fraction of the 40-60 pounds a bear his age should weigh at this time of year.

According to Appalachian Bear Rescue’s social media post, Sparky had been at the facility for less than a week when they started to notice him struggling to stand and seemed to be in pain.

Sparky Bear
Sparky Bear. (Courtesy of the Appalachian Bear Rescue)

Appalachian Bear Rescue claimed that he was taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. The vets examined the bear’s bones and joints and concluded that Sparky “would never get better.” The vets recommended that he be euthanized, Appalachian Bear Rescue said.

Appalachian Bear Rescue added that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service, who were responsible for Sparky, accepted their advice.

Sparky’s passing was similar to CranBeary Bear, who was euthanized after suffering from irreversible, possibly genetic, malformation of his arm joints. CranBeary could not climb trees for safety and could only walk at a few paces for a short amount of time.

“There may be a genetic component at play in both cases, but that will require further investigation. The vets at UT will perform a necropsy on Sparky in the hope to learn more,” said Appalachian Bear Rescue on social media.

Another malnourished female yearling has been admitted to Appalachian Bear Rescue from Fentress County named HoneyBunny Bear.