Black Bear cubs #18-1315 and 1316

Admission Date: 
June 6, 2018
Release Date: 
April 15, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Amherst County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Orphaned
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive
Released

On June 6, the Wildlife Center admitted two orphaned cubs from Amherst County – Black Bear cubs #18-1315 and #18-1316.

In past years, a private property owner in Amherst County had bears visiting his bird feeders. After consulting with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), the homeowner was advised to remove the bird feeders. In Virginia, it is illegal – and dangerous – to feed Black Bears intentionally or unintentionally. The homeowner did not remove the bird feeders as advised, and early on the morning of June 5, a sow came to the feeders with her two cubs. In an attempt to haze the bear, the homeowner tried to shoot her with rubber buckshot – a technique sometimes used to discourage bears from returning to a property once the food source is removed. Unfortunately, the homeowner somehow mistakenly used regular buckshot instead of rubber buckshot, and the sow was killed.

This tragedy is a sad reminder of why homeowners are often encouraged to remove birdfeeders, especially between April and November.  Free, easy food will always be appealing to bears, and they don't know that the seed is not meant for them.  Even if the homeowner used the rubber buckshot as a hazing method, it would have been ineffective if he continued to put out the bird feeders every day. Advice on how to co-exist with bears is to try and prevent these types of unnecessary occurrences.  Learn more about what it means to be Bear Aware.

The homeowner was able to round up the cubs; a DGIF Bear Biologist and a Conservation Police Officer arrived at the scene that evening, and the cubs were transported to the Wildlife Center the following morning.

The veterinary team examined the two cubs – both males - when they arrived at the Center. Both cubs are bright and in good body condition, each weighing 5.2 kgs.

Cub #18-1315 cub has a small laceration on the front right paw pad, which was sutured closed during the exam. This cub was tagged as Double Yellow.

Cub #18-1316 was extremely feisty and agitated when separated from his sibling during the exam. The cub made attempts to escape from the Zinger crate by clawing at the front of the cage; this caused him to fray several claws on his front paws. Dr. Monica cleaned the claws and trimmed away the frayed nails to prevent further injury. This cub was tagged Double Orange.


 

The cubs will be housed together in half of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure, allowing them to see and smell the other cubs, though they will remain separate from the other eight cubs for now.

Your donation helps to provide for the specialized care for these orphaned Black Bear cubs, as well as the 2,500 animals that are admitted to the Center annually.

Updates

April 16, 2019

Yesterday’s double bear release went well when Double Orange [larger male] and Double Pink [smaller female] were returned to the wild. Katie the DGIF biologist reported to us that both bears were awake (from their anesthetic drug) when she got to the release site – both bears hopped out on their own but were still a little sleepy from the drugs. Katie said, “[Both bears] went about 50 yards away and the big one decided he was still sleepy. So he conks out ... the little one comes back and curls up on him and they both proceed to snooze in the sun! It was hilarious and adorable!”

After both woke up, they trotted off together.

April 15, 2019

On Friday afternoon, the veterinary team was able to successfully capture and move the two Black Bear yearlings remaining in transition area #3 of the Black Bear Complex. Both bears had evaded their scheduled morning release after they managed to climb over the black protective plastic around one of the trees in the transition area and refused to come down.

The rehabilitation team set a live trap; by late afternoon, Double Orange took the bait and was able to be trapped, while Double Pink remained on the ground to keep Double Orange company. Dr. Peach was able to dart and sedate both bears, and performed the pre-release physical exam and ear tagging; both bears were then moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure to await release this week.

On Monday morning, a DGIF biologist came to pick up the two bears for release; they were successfully loaded in the DGIF transport trap. Bear #18-1089 [Double Pink] had a final weight of 31.7 kg; Bear #18-1315 [Double Orange] weighed in at 42.4 kg.

Here's a video from last Thursday's seven-bear release: 

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!

June 12, 2018

Black Bear cubs #18-1315 [Double Yellow] and #18-1316 [Double Orange] are settling in at the Wildlife Center. The rehab team has been offering the bears a juvenile bear meal, which consists of soaked dog chow, fruits, and soft vegetables, as well as a “mush bowl” (a thickened formula made for bears). The cubs are reportedly more interested in their juvenile meal rather than their mush.

Wildlife rehabilitator Brie said that the bears are not approachable; both are very wary of humans and have been skittish when approached. On the evening of June 11, the door between the two sides of the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure was opened, which allowed the two cubs to mingle with eight of the other cubs currently in the Center’s care.