A beloved black bear named Bruno was humanely euthanized by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) after he was found suffering from severe injuries.
Bruno was a much-needed distraction during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020. He was spotted traveling across multiple Midwestern states and acquired a devoted fan base that followed him on his journey.
The nomadic bear went viral with hashtag #brunosjourney on Twitter. Thousands of people kept track of him as he made his way through Missouri and Illinois, including Illinois State Police. They posted photos and video of Bruno with the caption, “Please do not approach the black bear. He is a wild animal and we want to ensure he gets to his destination safely.”
— IllinoisStatePolice (@ILStatePolice) June 29, 2020
But about a month ago tragedy struck.
On June 29, a homeowner called LDWF to report an injured black bear who arrived in their backyard and wouldn’t leave. Rescuers examined the male bear and discovered he had two broken legs and was “paralyzed due to a spinal injury.”
Some speculate the famed bear was hit by a semi-truck. Biologists claim his injuries occurred roughly a month ago and his health was rapidly declining.
“If there is any way possible a bear can survive an injury, we assist by relocating the animal to a secluded area to give it a chance at survival,” LDWF Large Carnivore Program Manager Maria Davidson said in a press release. “Unfortunately, this bear had injuries that would not have been survivable and the decision was made to humanely put it down.”
Bruno’s fans are devastated by the news. A private Facebook group called KEEPING BRUNO SAFE, which has now been changed to KEEPING BRUNO SAFE Memories & Education, has over 200K members who are now mourning his loss.
“I am so very sorry for all of you who loved him & especially Bruno himself. RIP Big Guy! You will be in my thoughts & in my heart for the rest of my days. I’m happy you are no longer suffering,” wrote one person.
The Humane Society of the United States-Wisconsin, heartbroken over the sad news, offered a way to help protect other wild animals. They wrote, “Bruno’s tragic end demonstrates the growing need for wildlife corridors and safe passages like bridges and tunnels around roadways to safeguard animals from human development and climate change impacts.”
No one knows for sure why Bruno went on such an extended journey, but he will never be forgotten.
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