LYNNWOOD – Two black bear brothers survived a wildfire this summer near Lake Chelan.
As they recovered at the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, they rose to fame.
A viral video of the brothers aired earlier this month on The Dodo, an online media company. As of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, it had been viewed over 2.3 million times on Facebook and over 1.3 million times on YouTube.
If you have Facebook, you’ve probably seen The Dodo videos whether or not you realized it. They are heartwarming and positive, full of cute animals.
The Little Brothers Story was presented in partnership with Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”, a television show first broadcast in 1963, as part of their “Saving the Wild” series.
Other stories in the series featured a penguin in Peru named Natalia who was afraid of water and a baby bat, Barnaby, who suffered heat stroke in France.
Wildlife expert Peter Gros is the host. He hopes to raise awareness of issues affecting wildlife, encouraging people to be better stewards of the world around them.
“We’ve always had problems – we still face what appear to be insurmountable problems – but I have tremendous hope and optimism … with the Daily Herald.
Bear brothers don’t have adorable names like the penguin and the bat because PAWS doesn’t name the patients. They are wild animals, after all, and not naming them helps staff members not get too attached.
Dave and Karen Case first spotted the cubs in July on their secluded, wooded 50-acre property near Lake Chelan. Teams from the State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife searched for the cubs for hours, trudging up and down the hill in the smoke and heat. By the time they found the bears, their paws were all badly scorched.
A third bear cub was found about 40 yards from Highway 20, near Mazama and the Cedar Creek fire. A fourth had to be euthanized because his injuries were so serious.
They were brought to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, where vets cleaned their wounds, applied ointment and bandaged them.
The vets sedated the bears for each treatment. While at PAWS, the cubs never saw a human.
These are sort of symbols of the far-reaching impacts of forest fires, which in recent years have grown and burned for longer – what scientists believe to be the result of climate change. There are many more animals that do not survive the fires. Those who do return to a charred landscape.
“The number of severely burned bears arriving at PAWS is not something I have seen in my 25 years with PAWS,” Jennifer Convy, the association’s wildlife director, said in a statement. press conference in August.
PAWS has been caring for bears since 1987 and sees an average of six bears per year. It is the largest bear rehabilitation center in the state.
These days, the three surviving cubs are like new.
The little brothers were separated for months, until they were well enough to meet.
The Dodo video shows footage of their reunion. Dave and Karen Case, the owners who alerted authorities to the plight of the cubs, are also in the video. They watched with admiration and amusement as the cubs greet each other.
When the door separating the little ones’ rooms was lifted, the brothers looked at each other cautiously.
Then one made his way into the other’s room. He hid behind some foliage. Sniffed the wall. Drank in the tub.
He got closer. They stood side by side, pawing on a log.
Finally, they met.
They were fiddling and biting each other. They fought in a playful way.
“It’s their version of hugs,” said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, wildlife veterinarian with PAWS.
David and Karen Case had seen them play like this before the fires.
“You two, is it like being reunited with a former family member?” Gros asked them in the video.
“I’m surprised my wife doesn’t bawl,” said David Case.
PAWS is now caring for five black cubs at the Wildlife Center. They took a liking to each other, spokeswoman Laura Follis said. She calls them a “five-headed bear”.
As winter approaches, PAWS dims the lights for the cubs as they prepare for hibernation.
This spring, it will be time for them to get back to nature.
Their chances of survival should be high.
Want to help?
PAWS is a private, non-profit organization that depends on the generosity of individual donors to make their work possible. Learn more about how to donate at paws.org/helpbears.