Alaska Bear Cub Euthanized After Testing Positive For Bird Flu

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A black bear cub in southeast Alaska was euthanized after it grew to become in poor health with avian influenza, the Alaska Division of Fish and Sport mentioned.

It’s believed that the cub, which was positioned in Bartlett Cove in Glacier Bay Nationwide Park and Protect west of Juneau, is the second bear identified with the extremely pathogenic chicken flu, the Juneau Empire reported.

A black bear cub (not the one that became ill with avian influenza) in British Columbia.
A black bear cub (not the one which grew to become in poor health with avian influenza) in British Columbia.

Paul Oomen through Getty Photographs

Bird flu “passes actually simply to poultry, however mammals aren’t actually vulnerable to it,” mentioned Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, a wildlife veterinarian for the division. “It’s troublesome to get, however we suspect the cub in all probability ate a chicken that died from avian influenza.”

The bear probably grew to become in poor health as a result of it was a small, younger animal with a weak immune system, she mentioned.

Because the virus was first detected in an grownup feminine black bear in Canada in June, Alaska state officers have examined scavenging animals for it. To date, it’s solely been present in two different animals, each pink foxes in Dutch Harbor and the western Alaska neighborhood of Unalakleet.

Discovering chicken flu within the bear and foxes will not be a sign it’s prone to unfold to different animals or to folks, Beckmen mentioned.

“This specific pressure, persons are just about proof against it,” she mentioned.

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned this pressure of chicken flu poses a “very low” threat to people, and just one particular person within the U.S. has been identified on this outbreak.

Nevertheless, the flu has hammered the state’s wild chicken inhabitants.

Folks in Glacier Bay final month observed that the cub, considered one of three accompanying a sow, had issue strolling, in response to state wildlife officers.

The sow deserted the cub and a biologist picked it up. Nevertheless, it started struggling seizures, as did the Canadian bear beforehand identified with the sickness. The Alaska bear was euthanized by a state biologist. Later testing confirmed the presence of the virus that causes extremely pathogenic avian influenza.