Surgeon rebuilds black bear’s face |

Surgeon rebuilds black bear’s face

Associated PressVail, CO Colorado

GARDEN CITY, Idaho A 3-year-old male black bear has undergone facial reconstruction surgery to close a gunshot wound, and could be released back into the wild later this year.Jeff D. Brourman, a small-animal surgeon, on Wednesday performed a two-hour skin-flap procedure that closed a 2-inch hole that exposed the 150-pound bear’s sinus cavity.”With that open hole, we were afraid an infection might go into his brain,” John Beecham, a volunteer with Idaho Black Bear Rehab, told the Idaho Statesman.The facility in Garden City in southwest Idaho is caring for the bear, one of 53 the group took in during 2007.The surgery required about 40 stitches and left a curving 8-inch scar on the bear’s shaved face.”It looks tremendous,” said Sally Maughan, founder of Idaho Black Bear Rehab, who stayed in the operating room during the procedure at WestVet Emergency & Specialty Center in Garden City.The bear was near a central Idaho campground near Stanley last summer when it was trapped by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife worker.The worker noticed the bear’s injury and contacted the bear rehab center. At that time, around late August, a veterinarian removed shrapnel and cleaned the wound.Brourman said the surgery was planned for this winter so that the bear, in its natural hibernation period, might be less likely to pull out the stitches, which will be removed in two weeks.Maughan and Beecham, a retired Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist she works with, have saved hundreds of orphaned black bears from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah since the center opened in 1989.The black bear that underwent the operation had mostly brown hair, which Beecham said was common for central Idaho.”He’s won everybody’s hearts,” said Maughan. “He’s just a big, old mellow bear.”

Idaho Statesman,

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