Lucky’s Surgery – UPDATE April 27, 2013

Lucky's surgical teamLucky's surgical teamLucky was our focus today.  A team of vets from the east coast flew in to work with local vets to castrate Lucky.  That meant four experienced veterinarians and a vet tech surrounded him with care that went far beyond normal field procedures.  Each member of the team had a job with ready support from 5 Bear Center staff members.  Lucky was in good hands.

Lucky is prepared for surgeryLucky is prepared for surgeryThe tranquilizer was injected and within 2-3 minutes Lucky lay down and was out. While one veterinarian shaved and surgically prepped Lucky, another veterinarian intubated him and started oxygen flow.  Then an IV was started in case additional drugs would be needed.  A heart monitor was started with its rhythmic beeping like in a hospital.  Ointment was applied on his eyes for protection.  Lydocaine was injected at the incision site. 

Vets perform surgery on LuckyVets perform surgery on LuckySterile procedures were strictly followed during the surgery.  After the testicles were snipped, double precautions were taken to prevent bleeding.  When the procedure was finished, the lead surgeon proclaimed the stitches a work of art. 

Lucky was intubated for surgeryLucky was intubated for surgeryA tiny identification chip was injected behind his left ear as in dogs.  They turned Lucky to his other side for even blood flow.  Morphine was injected to ease pain.  The drug reversal agent was injected, and Lucky began regaining mobility with his eyes covered against the sun.  The lead veterinarian said circulating testosterone should dissipate in a couple weeks.  This surgery should help relieve tensions in the bear pen.

Lucky's nice new paw padLucky's nice new paw padLily is doing what most mothers of small cubs do—restricting her movements to a small area.  After exploring the vicinity of her den the first 24 hours away, she moved to an area where she is still settled today.  When she leaves and the snow melts, we’ll check it out for more clues to her story.  We expect to find a nice bed tree with lots of bear sign around.

Jewel and yearlings are all eyes after returning to their denJewel and yearlings are all eyes after returning to their denJewel and family are using an even smaller area in and around their den.  They began last night outside the den, but moved back in just after midnight.  This morning about 6:30 AM, Jewel was breathing a steady 5.2 times per minute with Fern and Herbie beside her.  Today they seemed antsy, but they are sticking close to the den.  It looks like Jewel has decided to wait out this melt.

Jewel half our of denJewel half out of denWe’re not sure about Juliet. With temperatures reaching 70 F and snow melting today, her culvert den most likely has water in it.  She must be out of the den, but she has not given a GPS location for over 2 days.  Did she remove the collar in the culvert?  Has the collar twisted around so the GPS unit is under her chin?  Has the unit failed?  Tomorrow we’ll check on her to find the answer.

Jewel and yearlingsJewel and yearlingsThe new addition will house the Northwood’s Ecology Center as well as the Hope Learning Center.  The Ecology Center will have exhibits of as many wildlife species as possible to give visitors an appreciation for what makes this area special.  Lighting will make the exhibits stand out.  Sounds of many of these animals will give a Northwood’s ambience.  Yearling just chillin'Yearling just chillin'Pictures and especially videos will bring them to life.  This major undertaking is where the donations of taxidermy we requested will go.  Plaques will tell who helped. 

We are also looking for taxidermists who might want to help.  YearlingYearlingWe have road-killed animals and window-killed birds to be mounted.  We are collecting mice, voles, and shrews to be taxidermied for an exhibit on their role in the ecosystem.

The BFF Team posted a good summary of walking hibernation at, which is just another reminder of how much the volunteers do every day.  We deeply appreciate our many volunteers!

Thank you for all you do.

—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.

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