BOISE -- "Boo Boo" the black bear is fast on his way to becoming a national celebrity.
Idaho Fish and Game educator Evin Oneale says the injured bear cub is responsible for dozens of phone calls and emails from around the country.
That's because Boo Boo was found with badly-burned paws in a wilderness area near the Mustang Complex Fire last week.
“We’ve heard from folks all across Idaho, and from other states including California, Texas and New York,” Oneale noted. “Each note or phone call has the same common theme – concern for this young bear. It’s very gratifying to know that so many people care.”
Oneale says some people have offered financial support, while others have asked about helping house the injured bear.
U.S. Forest Service personnel captured Boo Boo while he was in a Douglas fir tree near the Corn Creek raft put-in west of Salmon, Idaho. He was then transferred to the care of Idaho's state veterinarian.
For now, Boo Boo is at the state's Wildlife Health Lab in Caldwell.
Officials say the young bear still faces a long recovery due to severe burns on its paws. “Infection is the main concern right now,” Oneale said. “At this time, our state veterinarian is evaluating local facilities that can give the cub the medical attention it needs to make a full recovery.”
Oneale says those who want to help Boo Boo financially should wait until he's permanently housed in a wildlife rehabilitation facility. He hopes that will happen sometime this week.
“We have no good mechanism to accept donations related to this bear cub’s treatment,” Oneale commented. “Once a care facility is selected, we’ll let people know where and how they can provide funding to cover the costs of care and treatment.”
For more information, visit IDFG on the web, or call 208-334-3700.