Black Bear cubs #18-0349 [No Tag] and #18-0350 [Pink Tag]

Admission Date: 
April 13, 2018
Release Date: 
April 11, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Franklin County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On Thursday, April 12, a female bear was hit and killed while crossing the road in Franklin County, Virginia. She had two cubs with her, both of which were rescued by Virginia State Police. The cubs were taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center on the evening of Friday, April 13 and within a couple of hours were picked up and transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia by outreach coordinator Raina.

A team of people were at the Center to receive the cubs at 10:00 p.m.; Dr. Ingrid, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, and her vet students admitted and examined the cubs, while wildlife rehabilitators Kelsey and Shannon returned to work to set up a crate and prepare bottles of electrolyte formula. Both cubs were thin, dehydrated, and mildly anemic. Black bear cub #18-0349, a male, was left untagged (therefore becoming this year’s “No Tag”) and weighed in at 1.93 kg. The other cub, a female, weighed in at 2.06 kg and was tagged with a pink ear tag in her right ear. Radiographs of Pink Tag showed what could be a small chip fracture on the back of the bear’s skull. While likely painful, the small fracture shouldn’t cause future health issues for the bear. Dr. Ingrid gave the cub a dose of an anti-inflammatory medication.

When the veterinary team finished the examinations and ear tagging of the cubs at about midnight, Kelsey and Shannon bottle-fed the cubs with electrolytes. No Tag ate a little better than Pink Tag.


The cubs will eat three times a day in the coming weeks; rehab intern Shannon reports that the cubs are not interested in bottle-feedings, though, during the past day, they have been most interested in their “mush bowls” – soft dog food with thickened formula designed for Black Bear cubs. The cubs are living together in their own zinger crate in the same room as the first two bears cubs of the season, admitted earlier on April 13. The cubs will soon be introduced to each other during feedings and supervised play time.

Now is the time of year when sows and cubs are emerging from their dens – the Wildlife Center urges drivers to be alert and slow down when driving in areas where bears may be living. If you find a cub by itself and suspect it may be orphaned, please call the Wildlife Center or the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries for advice. The Wildlife Center admits dozens of bears each year, and while fully equipped to rear cubs and bears, it’s best to give the bear cubs every chance possible to be reunited with their mothers. Never take a bear cub home to keep, even for a short period of time. Bear cubs may be cute and cuddly, but close contact with humans can ruin a bear’s chance of being released back into the wild.

Your donation will help provide these two orphaned bear cubs with special care -- for a year! Thanks for your support. 


April 11, 2019

The bear releases continue this week – with seven more bear yearlings out the door!

The Wildlife Center team successfully darted and loaded seven bears this morning; some of the bears had already received their pre-release exam and ear-tagging earlier this week when they were moved to Large Mammal Isolation. All bears are in good condition. A number have shown some hair loss along their flanks; the staff has noted this during the past couple of years on yearling bears in the early spring. This appears to be something that is seen in captive-raised bear cubs but has not been a long-term issue for bears once they have more room in the wild.

Today’s release group includes:

Black Bear cub #18-0345 [Green Tag]: final weight 50.9 kg
Black Bear cub #18-0346 [Orange Tag]: final weight 46.3 kg
Black Bear cub #18-0349 [No Tag]: final weight 43.7 kg
Black Bear cub #18-0350 [Pink Tag]: final weight: 32.4 kg
Black Bear cub #18-0383 [Red]: final weight 45.4 kg
Black Bear cub #18-0933 [Double Green Tags]: final weight 47.4 kg
Black Bear cub #18-1315 [Double Yellow Tags]: final weight 42.4 kg

Wildlife rehabilitators Brie and Kelsey are attending the release with DGIF biologists; hopefully we’ll have photos and/or video to share later!

April 16, 2018

The four Black Bear cubs at the Center are all settling in well – wildlife rehabilitator Brie reports that all of the cubs have gained weight since their Friday admissions. Each set of sibling cubs is housed in a zinger crate, though all four cubs have been introduced to each other and have a supervised group play time at each feeding. 

The rehab team reports that Orange Tag and Green Tag are both bottle-feeding well; No Tag and Pink Tag don’t particularly care for the bottle but are very interested in their mush bowls [thickened formula and baby food].


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