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Bears burned in Southern California wildfires treated holistically, and are now back home in the wild

Bears burned in Southern California wildfires treated holistically, and are now back home in the wild
A bear, injured in a wildfire, rests with its badly burned paws wrapped in fish skin — tilapia — and covered in corn husks during treatment at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. (California Department of Fish and Wildlife / Associated Press)

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 UC Davis.

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Dr. 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.

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