On April 3, a homeowner in Shenandoah County found a small bear cub wandering in his yard. The homeowner called the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries [VDGIF] to report the cub and to ask what should be done. DGIF advised the homeowner to leave the cub alone, and to limit outdoor activity to allow the sow to return and reunite with her cub. The following day, the cub was still in the yard, and crawled under the homeowner’s deck. There was no sign of the sow. The homeowner called DGIF with an update; the decision was made to transport the cub to the Wildlife Center on the evening of April 4.
Dr. Meghan Feeney, the Center’s veterinary intern, responded to the after-hours arrival and examined the small male cub. The bear was bright, alert, feisty and very vocal – in short, it was displaying normal bear cub behavior. There were no significant findings on the cub’s physical exam, although blood work revealed that the cub was hypoglycemic. Dr. Meghan gave fluids to the bear, along with a small amount of karo syrup and nutrical. The bear also received oral electrolytes from a bottle before it was settled into a zinger crate. The cub weighed 2.11 kg.
The bear will be bottle fed three times a day for now. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologists are assessing two potential den sites today; if the dens are still active, and a sow with cubs is available, this cub may be able to be fostered into a surrogate mother.