Way back in July, Kam went to help out with the firefighter deployment across Northern California. When she returned, she told me about a firefighter having rescued an injured black bear cub, who the firefighter named "Li'l Smokey."
There were photos and info online, and I kept meaning to link to them, but kept not getting around to it. But things have reached the point where my open browser windows are causing serious performance problems, so I'm finally closing some old windows.
(Many of y'all may've already seen this stuff, 'cause it made the news all over the place. But I never saw any of the news stories, so I figure some of you might not have either.)
I think it was a little uncertain at first whether Smokey was going to make it; they hoped so, but he had some pretty severe injuries, including third-degree burns on all four paws.
Ever since July, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (the organization that's treating Smokey) has been posting updates online; in August, they ported the updates over to a Typepad blog. You can read the whole story by starting at the first entry and clicking forward one entry at a time; or you can skip straight to the main blog page, where the latest entry as of this writing shows comparison photos of how far Smokey's paws have come in the first few months of treatment. Or you can view a couple of CBS videos from August. (The second, longer one on that page has a bunch more details than the first one; I recommend the second one if you have a few minutes to spare.)
You can also watch Smokey's webcam to see him live (when he's on-camera).
And there's an FAQ with a bunch of useful info, especially about the plans to release Smokey back into the wild in a couple months.
Of course, rehabilitating bears (and running webcams) takes money. So does taking care of all sorts of other wildlife, as LTWC does--see their photos page for pix of some of the other animals they've helped--baby Mexican free-tailed bats, barn owls, baby beavers (delivered by C-section), baby river otters, a bald eagle, and so on. (Also, they've currently got six other bears besides Smokey; for example, see the photo of one of the other bears sticking its tongue out.) So if you're so inclined, drop a donation to LTWC to help cover their costs.