Environment & Science

Bears burned in Southern California wildfires get holistic pain relief

File: A grizzly bear, an endangered animal species, sits in an exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo May 18, 2007.
File: A grizzly bear, an endangered animal species, sits in an exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo May 18, 2007.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Two bears that were badly burned in last month's Southern California wildfires are back in the wild after doctors used alternative treatments including acupuncture to save them.

Rescuers brought the bears and a 5-month-old mountain lion to vets with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of California, Davis.

Vet Jamie Peyton says she and colleagues stitched tilapia fish skins on the animals' feet to soothe the burns. Doctors commonly use pig and human grafts on burned people.

Peyton says the bears soon were up and walking around in their bandages.

Vets also used acupuncture and other alternative treatments — after the animals were sedated.

The bears were released last week into Los Padres National Forest. The mountain lion will be released this week.