Last September, a mangy looking bear was spotted scavenging for food in the backyard of a Schroon Lake homeowner.
The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, in Wilmington, got a call reporting the bear appeared sick and was holed up in a shed. That’s when Wendy Hall, from the refuge swooped in for the rescue.
The bear was given the name Barnaby, and when he arrived at the refuge, was starving and riddled with internal and external parasites. He weighed just 35 lbs. Barnaby quickly gained a cult following through the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge's Facebook Page and his friends and followers began a flow of donations, from barrels of acorns and apples, to honey and protein rich nutritional fluids. What happens next will make you smile!
More from Rose Gomez from TV station WCAX:
"The bear was so sick, and it weighed so little. Its weight should have been somewhere around a hundred and it weighed 35 to 40 pounds. It was starving to death. We easily got it into a "have-a-heart" trap that was actually a coyote "have-a-heart" trap," the refuge's Wendy Hall told WCAX.
“They brought the bear back to the rehabilitation center and began sharing the story of the bear's recovery on Facebook, and even named him Barnaby. Hundreds of people donated food and supplies for the bear's recovery. "We set up a concoction for him that we fed to him every day to help get rid of that, and now he's just very full of fur and healthy," said the refuge's Alex Hall.
In a few short months, Barnaby gained around 100 pounds and began hibernating this winter. That's when the staff realized Barnaby was actually ‘a she’
"We were so concerned about just getting him to eat and getting worms out of him and just trying to keep him alive, we didn't really take an opportunity to examine him all that closely, and he's a wild bear. He was not really all that interested in being examined," said Mark Laske, a Wildlife Rehabilitator.
Barnaby--now called Barnabee--gave birth to two cubs inside the enclosure's den, and officials say if the bear hadn't gained all that weight, it's likely the cubs would have never been born. They say most bears mate in June, but have cubs in January.
"The eggs are fertilized, but fetal development actually doesn't start until about five months later, so if at November time, if that fat content's not high enough, no cubs will happen, so this doesn't happen. Experts in the field have actually told us this is unprecedented -- It's pretty unique," said Chris Mattern, a bear specialist”.
Though the bear's story has been shared online through videos and photos, they are not allowing any visitors to see her in person. They are planning on releasing her and her cubs back into the wild in just a few months, but they will be bringing in some new cubs that they say eventually will be open for the public to see".
Were you the homeowner -- or do you know who it was -- who saved Barnaby/Barnabee's life? Let us know in comments. Got your own Bear story? Share with us know in comments.