You may have heard about Chips and Boo Boo, the bobcat kitten and bear cub that were found with burn injuries on wildfires last August.
In both cases wildland firefighters found and rescued the young critters, which were then treated for their burns and rehabilitated by wildlife rescue organizations.
Chips was found August 24 by members of the Mad River hand crew on the fire that inspired the name of the bobcat, the Chips Fire, burning on the Lassen and Plumas National forests in California. Not wanting to disrupt a natural process, the crew tried to walk away but the bobcat followed them. When they stopped it curled up on the boots of crew superintendent Tad Hair. The crew searched for tracks that belonged to its mother and found none. A closer assessment revealed that the kitten had burned paws and eye injuries so they rescued it and contacted Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates injured or orphaned wildlife and returns them to the wild.
Chips has now recovered from her wounds and will eventually be released into the wild, hopefully next spring. One obstacle that must be overcome is her tendency to be friendly with humans. She has been introduced to two male bobcats who hiss and bare their claws at people and is being taught to hunt by having to chase down live mice.
Boo Boo the bear cub was also found by firefighters on August 24, but on the Mustang Complex Fire in Idaho. Like Chips, Boo Boo had burned paws. An Idaho Fish and Game Officer and a member of the Whiskey Flats Crew took the cub to the Garden Valley Ranger Station, and later transferred it to the nonprofit Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary in McCall, Idaho.
Boo Boo’s paws are still sensitive but the cub is climbing trees and playing with five other orphaned cubs in a two-acre enclosure in the sanctuary. The plan is to release it into the wild in June after hunting season ends.
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Thanks go out to Kelly