Death of rabid black bear is first for North Carolina

Black bear (Photo: Pixabay)

FAIRFIELD, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials say a dead black bear has tested positive for rabies, the first such case known to the state.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said in a statement Friday that a Fairfield man contacted the commission on Dec. 17 after finding the male bear dead at his game feeder in Hyde County.

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Colleen Olfenbuttel, a black bear and furbearer biologist for the commission, says only four cases of rabies in wild black bears have been documented in the continental U.S. since 1999.

The commission performed a necropsy on the bear before sending it to researchers at the University of Georgia for further testing. The researchers informed the commission on Dec. 21 that rabies caused the bear’s death.