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Due to abnormal brain conditions, bears behave like friendly dogs



A mysterious disease is causing some black bears that are friendly to humans but not afraid of black bears, and other strange symptoms.

According to a news release issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at the end of last month, researchers believe that this disease appears to be a disease of bear cubs at about one year old, and is a type of encephalitis. Several bears in Nevada and California have shown this condition since 2014. Last year, four California bears were confirmed to have this condition.

“The first bear I personally rescued was diagnosed with encephalitis in March 201

8,” Ann Bryant of the Bear Education Aversion Response Group told Live Science. “She walked into a school and into a classroom, where she was sitting among the children, acting very much like a friendly dog.”

An American black bear eats raspberries in the forest.


noemie lang/500px via Getty Images

An American black bear eats raspberries in the forest.

Encephalitis has other serious effects on bears, including tremors, head tilt, and seizures. Affected bears are also often severely underweight. A female bear observed in February picked up an apple and ate it among humans on the terrace. When she was supposed to be around 80 pounds, it weighed only 21 pounds. She was also covered by tick bugs, walked a strange road, and was eventually euthanized.

It is not clear what exactly causes inflammation of the brain. But in the process of studying this phenomenon, scientists discovered five previously unknown viruses in the affected bears.

Jamie Sherman, a veterinarian at the Institute of Health at the University of California, Davis, told the Sacramento Bee that these viruses are believed to pose no danger to humans.

Bears with encephalitis must usually be euthanized. Wildlife veterinarian Brandon Munch said in the CFDW version that their symptoms make them unable to survive in the wild, and animals placed in zoos or shelters may become a “huge burden” due to lifelong medical care.

However, in recent years, two bears exhibiting neurological problems have been able to find new homes. The one now named Elinor was taken to the Orange County Zoo. Another bear was infected with a virus after sniffing skiers on the camera, and is now named Benji. He lives at the Ramona Wildlife Center of the San Diego Humanitarian Association. Last month, Benji celebrated his third birthday here with a cake made of fruit and mashed potatoes.


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