On April 17, a private citizen observed a young Black Bear cub by itself near a roadway in Franklin County, Virginia. After several hours, no sign of a sow was seen in the area and the private citizen contained the cub on their own, coming into direct physical contact with the bear in the process. Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources biologists were later called to the scene, received the cub, and transported it to the Wildlife Center.
That same evening, veterinary staff examined the female cub and noted that she was active but quiet during intake. A physical exam revealed the cub was very thin and severely dehydrated, with a body condition score of 1/5. Upon intake, she weighed just 1.5 kg. No obvious physical injuries were found, indicating that this cub was likely orphaned and could not find sufficient resources on her own.
Skin scrapes and radiographs were within normal limits, blood was drawn for a full analysis, and fluids were administered to combat the cub's dehydration. With cooler nighttime temperatures and the cub's low body condition score in mind, Center staff placed her in a Zinger crate within a secluded indoor enclosure overnight. Due to the direct physical contact with her initial rescuer, veterinary staff did not immediately introduce her to Black Bear cub #23-0529. On April 19 -- after the complete results of the cub's diagnostic tests returned within normal limits -- rehabilitation staff moved her into the LMI enclosure chute with a Zinger crate alongside Black Bear cub #23-0529 during the mid-day meal delivery. In this outdoor space, staff are able to supervise and observe both cubs as they begin to see and interact with one another.
This bear’s story of rescue serves as a good reminder to call for help first if you see a lone bear cub. Never pick up a cub or take it home, even for short periods of time; if you encounter a cub that could be orphaned or injured, called the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources immediately. The Center is often able to successfully rehabilitate bears, but keeping bears wild means minimizing human contact.