In early December, when a mother bear and her three cubs turned up dead in a church parking lot in northeast Pennsylvania, it sparked CSI-like intrigue. As Game Commission officials could find no obvious cause of death, they turned to scientists at the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS), to lend their diagnostic skills to solve the case.
Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine New Bolton Center campus is home to one of the three labs that comprise PADLS. By the close of 2016, Penn Vet scientists—with an assist from botanist Timothy Block of the Morris Arboretum—were able to help determine the cause of the bears’ demise: the toxic leaves and seeds of an English yew plant.
Watch the video, produced by Rebecca Henhoeffer, University of Pennsylvania Communications.