Black Bear cub #19-0492 [White Tag]

Admission Date: 
April 19, 2019
Release Date: 
April 27, 2020
Location of Rescue: 
Roanoke, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Separated from mother
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

The 2019 Black Bear cub season started on Friday, April 19 with the arrival of cub #19-0492!

The female cub was found alone in a very urban part of Roanoke – the cub had been seen over the course of 24 hours, near a busy road by a Walmart. The Roanoke Police were able to pick up the cub and then called a DGIF biologist to discuss the situation. The police were concerned that there was no safe space to leave the cub to be reunited with her mother; there was a high risk of injury or of a private citizen picking up the cub. The DGIF biologist brought the young bear to the Wildlife Center that same afternoon.

Dr. Karra examined the bear cub when she arrived and found her to be bright, alert, and very vocal. The bear had a few fleas and ticks, and was a little thin; she weighed in at 1.78 kg. Radiographs were within normal limits.

The rehabilitation staff set up a Zinger crate for the bear in a small outdoor area; the bear will be able to hear and smell the outdoors, though will be protected from the elements until she’s older. Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey and rehabilitation intern Kylee have full responsibility for caring for the young cub at this point; it’s critical that the cub only sees very few caregivers during the rehabilitation process. Kelsey and Kylee are feeding the cub three times a day; the cub is not particularly interested in formula from a bottle, but is eating readily from a “mush bowl” – a bowl of thickened formula and baby food.

As of Monday morning, the cub already gained 390 g, and the rehab team reports that she is doing well.

Your donation will help provide special care to this Black Bear cub -- for the next year! 


April 27, 2020

During the past weekend, the rehabilitation staff were able to successfully trap No Tag, White Tag, and Green Tag in preparation for Monday's release. Pink Tag remained in a tree throughout the weekend. 

On the morning of April 27, the three bear yearlings received a physical examination, weight, skin scraping, and blood draw. The bears were tagged with a green tag in each ear for release; all cubs who have been rehabilitated and released receive this color of ear tag for easier identification in the wild. A DGIF biologist picked up White Tag and No Tag for a joint release; then a second biologist picked up Green Tag for release in a different area. 

All bears were in good body condition. Final weights were: 

Black Bear #19-0492 (White Tag): 33.9 kg [White Tag was at the Center for a total of 375 days!]
Black Bear #19-0546 (No Tag): 35.4 kg [No Tag was with us for 370 days!]

Kelsey noted that Green Tag weighed more than No Tag and White Tag, and was in perfect condition! 

Pink Tag remained in a tree during all the darting and loading. The rehabilitation staff will continue to try to live-trap the bear; if she is successfully contained this week, she'll be moved into the transition area. 

4:30 p.m. update:

The DGIF biologist who released No Tag and White Tag report that the release went well, and said the cubs  "were both perplexed by the feel of grass once they stepped off the road. No Tag immediately started foraging on some May apples and then they took off out of sight!”

The biologists who released Green Tag also reported back that the release went well; Green Tag jumped out of the bear trap and promptly climbed a tree. 

Thanks to your support, these bears were able to return to the wild, where they belong! 





March 10, 2020

The four Black Bear cubs of 2019 have been doing well in the Center’s Bear Complex. Regular Critter Cam watchers may have noticed that the bears have been particularly active during the past few weeks, which is a good reminder that spring – the ideal time for these bears to be released back into the wild -- is quickly approaching! In preparation for planning the bears’ eventual release, the Center’s rehabilitation staff are closely observing their behaviors and overall health. Black Bears #19-0546 (No Tag) and #19-0492 (White Tag) are regularly seen roaming the complex together, while Black Bear #19-3292 (Green Tag) seems to spend more time apart from the other bears. Black Bear #19-3305 (Pink Tag) is very rarely seen on camera; the rehabilitation staff report that Pink Tag hasn’t interacted with the other bears much, but seems to have chosen a specific artificial den within the transition area to spend most of her time in. To ensure Pink Tag is receiving proper nutrition, the staff are delivering food to both the transition area and the open Bear Yard.

All four of these bears have reached the age that they would begin to disperse from sows in the wild, and spring weather will soon increase the amount food and other resources available to wild bears in Virginia. During the coming weeks the rehabilitation staff will continue to monitor the bears, and will begin the planning process for their release in April.



May 31, 2019

The Black Bear cub “sisters” are growing up! At this week’s weigh-in,  No Tag was 5.2 kg, and White Tag was unable to be picked up for weighing. Wildlife rehabilitator Kelsey reported that the two are very feisty and have zero interest in humans; she and fellow rehabilitator Shannon decided that since both cubs are more than 5.0 kg and very difficult to handle, they won't be weighed until they are fully weaned and ready to go to the Complex. White Tag has been very protective of her smaller introduced sister.

The cubs are still eating their “mush bowls” with thickened formula twice a day, but also are now receiving a small juvenile bear meal with fruits, seeds, and veggies.

May 22, 2019

The two Black Bear cubs are doing well in the Large Mammal enclosure, as many Critter Cam viewers have seen for themselves!

A repeat DTM (dermatophyte test medium) was run this week to check for the ringworm fungus for which both cubs are being treated; unfortunately, the test came back positive, indicating that the ringworm was not fully resolved. Treatment [a topical spray] will continue twice a day for the next week or two. 

Both cubs are gaining weight; the rehab teams weigh each cub once a week, on Thursdays. No Tag weighed in at 3.87 kg on May 16, and White Tag weighed 5.60 kg.

May 15, 2019

On the afternoon of May 14, the two Black Bear cubs were moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure – and are now on cam! Check out Critter Cam 2 to watch Cub Cam.

Black Bear cub #19-0492 – the larger of the two cubs – had a white ear tag placed in her right ear for identification purposes. She weighed in at 5.50 kg on May 13. Black Bear cub #19-0546 weighed in at 3.75 kg and will be our “No Tag” cub this year.

Both cubs are eating their mush bowls twice a day, which at this point contain thickened bear formula, soaked puppy show, small piece of fruits, and small pieces of soft veggies.

May 13, 2019

The two Black Bear cub "sisters" are doing well; wildlife rehabilitator Shannon recorded a couple of video clips during a recent playtime. The cubs are more quiet and wary than past cubs – while the two enjoy playing with one another, they’re always careful to keep a watchful eye on the humans who are present.

Stay tuned for more updates later this week, as the two get ready to move to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure!

May 10, 2019

Black Bear cubs #19-0492 and #19-0546 [Pink] are both growing quickly; they’re eating “mush bowls” three times a day and are gaining weight. At last weigh-in, #19-0492 weighed 4.20 kg and #19-0546 [Pink] was 3.11 kg.

The rehab staff noted that Pink cub intermittently has tremors, though they believe this is behavioral and due to nervousness; both cubs are not inclined to interact with the three staff caregivers. Last week, the staff noted some mild hair loss on cub #19-0492’s face; a diagnostic test for ringworm was performed, which was positive. Both cubs are being treated with a topical antifungal.

Several minor repairs have been made to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure; next week, carpentry volunteers will fix the heavy-duty log “furniture” in both sides of the enclosure. After these repairs are made, the cubs will be moved to the Large Mammal Enclosure – which means they’ll be on cam by the end of next week. Stay tuned for more updates!

May 1, 2019

The two Black Bear cubs -- #19-0492 and #19-0546 – are both doing well and enjoying each other’s company. Both have gained weight since arrival and are eating well; #19-0492 prefers to eat her thickened formula out of a bowl, instead of a bottle and weighs 2.95 kg. The newer bear has been bottle-feeding well though within the past couple days, is transitioning to bowl feeding as well. The cubs are becoming more active, according to the rehab staff.