PAWS veterinarians saved the life of a bear cub after one of its lungs was collapsed by a tranquilizer dart fired by a state wildlife team.
Two cubs were captured in Darrington. Their mother was killed, and the two cubs were looking for food when the Department of Wildlife responded.
The female cub suffered the injury and she and her brother were quickly transported to PAWS Wildlife Center for emergency care.
PAWS Veterinarian John Huckabee said he could hear the classic "sucking" sound that comes from a chest wound. The left lung was completely collapsed.
The PAWS veterinary team quickly closed the wound and re-inflated the cub’s lung. While the procedure is common for humans, this is the first time vets at PAWS have performed the surgery.
“We have more than 70 bears of the years, and this is the first time we’ve ever come across this,” Veterinarian Steve Johnson said.
PAWS says the cub is eating regularly and has even gained a little weight. Although her prognosis is guarded, the PAWS Wildlife team is cautiously optimistic that she will continue to make a full recovery and be ready for release by next year.