Alert! Strange Brain Disorder Killing Western U.S. Black Bears


A Puzzling Brain Disease Is Killing Black Bears in the Western United States

by Elizabeth Gamillo/

In California and Nevada, vets and biologists are receiving an increasing number of reports of bears exhibiting signs of an unknown neurological condition. The bears appear lethargic, underweight, experience head tremors, and have a subtle head-tilt. The condition also makes the bears unwary of humans, posing a threat to their safety, reports Ryan Sabalow for the Sacramento Bee.

In the last year, four cases of the strange illness were identified in California, reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo. One incident found a 21-pound female cub, which should have weighed at least 80 pounds for its age, climbing into the trunk of a car after humans fed the bear, reports Gizmodo. In many cases, it turns out the bears developed encephalitis, or severe brain swelling, which can be caused by a variety of sources, even viral infections. In a December 2020 study, researchers identified five new viruses in the bears showing the symptoms, but whether any of these viruses cause the brain-swelling illness and odd behaviors remains unclear, Gizmodo reports.

In what seems to be a classic display of the disease, a now-viral 2019 video showed a young bear cub in Lake Tahoe walking up to a snowboarder in a “dog-like” way with its head tilted.  Read More:


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  1. – Same was said about deer not long ago, personally think they are starving, fires, storms, small animals also starvation, not enough vegetation to eat.

    • should add, photo shows lush grasses, but that type veg has been going away, dwindling faster now.

  2. The bears are suffering from a prolonged EM skull..muzzle ..tongue hold…the tilted head is a clue, they are also suffering from a loss of oxygen as this hold chokes the carotid arteries. This hold would also cause brain swelling with enough amperage over time.

  3. Black bears are sweethearts, and regarded as generally harmless in the east. I’ve always been fascinated by humans affinity for Bears as comfort tools for children. No other animal comes close.

    • David, I would like to see a quick end to this malady for them and not to see it spread further.

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