Black Bear cubs of 2017

Patient Status: 
Current Patient

At the end of March 2017, the Wildlife Center began admitting this year's bear cubs from locations throughout Virginia. These bears were likely born between early January to mid-February of 2017. In most cases, the cubs were separated from their mothers.

While the Wildlife Center and biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries were able to foster a cub onto a wild denning sow earlier this year [link], the end of March proved to be too late in the season to successfully find a foster mom for the first cub. Sows become more active in the spring weather and start leaving their winter dens with their cubs in early April. The second, third, and fourth cub were admitted to the Wildlife Center within the weeks following the first cub's admission.

Bear cubs at the Wildlife Center are rehabilitated for a year and are released in the following spring, at the time when they would begin naturally dispersing from their mothers. The 2017 cubs will be released in the spring of 2018.

To limit human interaction, only a few staff care for the bear cubs. Cubs admitted in the early spring typically need supplemental heat; they live in one of the Center's patient rooms and are bottle- or bowl-fed a special bear formula multiple times a day. When they are old enough to move outside, they continue to live in a contained zinger crate, with access to a larger play space during feeding sessions. After that, the cubs are housed in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. Once the bear cubs are weaned from formula, they are moved to the Center’s Black Bear Complex, where they have a half-acre of forest to explore.

When introduced to other bears, each cub has a temporary colored tag placed in its ear. These tags will be removed prior to release and will be replaced with permanent green ear tags from the Virginia Department of Inland Fisheries. The temporary colored tags allow the Center staff to monitor and identify the cubs via Critter Cam. The green "release" tags identify them as rehabilitated bears.

The 2017 bear cubs include:

Black Bear cub #17-0352, [No Tag], female 
Black Bear cub  #17-0374, [Red Tag], male
Black Bear cub #17-0411 [Green Tag], male
Black Bear cub #17-0444 [White Tag], female
Black Bear cub #17-0606 [Orange Tag], female
Black Bear cub #17-0744 [Yellow Tag], male
Black Bear cub #17-0745 [Pink Tag], female
Black Bear cub #17-0760 [Double Green], male

Frequently Asked Questions about Black Bear cub rehabilitation 

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Updates

May 19, 2017

At the end of last week, the rest of the bear cubs were moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. Bear cub #17-0760 [Double Green Tag] was isolated for a few more days until he was cleared to move in with the other cubs on May 15.

Wildlife rehabilitators Brie and Linda report that the cubs are active, wild, eating, growling, playing, and just generally crazy. The cubs are eating soft bear foods and receiving mush bowls twice a day; the youngest cub, No Tag, is still being bottle-fed twice a day.

Current weights are:

No Tag: 3.75 kg
Red Tag: 5.75 kg
Green Tag: 4.38 kg
White Tag: 4.96 kg
Orange Tag: 4.56 kg
Yellow Tag: 4.00 kg
Pink Tag: 2.86 kg
Double Green Tags: 2.44 kg

May 9, 2017

On May 3, wildlife rehabilitator Brie moved Red Tag, Green Tag, and White Tag to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. These three bears are the largest of the cubs, and the Center's metal cage complex, where the cubs had been housed, was getting a little full!  The three cubs began tentatively exploring, and have settled in well. They are currently eating mush bowls twice a day, in addition to other veggies, fruits, and seeds.

The other cubs -- No Tag, Orange Tag, Yellow Tag, and Pink Tag -- are still housed in zinger crates in the metal cage complex and roam and play during meals three times a day. No Tag, the youngest cub, is the only one still bottle-feeding; all the other cubs have graduated to mush bowls.

Double Green Tag -- the newest arrival -- still has been housed alone due to his mange mites. The staff hope that he'll be clear to meet the other cubs next week.

Current weights are:

Red Tag: 4.7 kg
Green Tag: 3.3 kg
White Tag: 3.8 kg
No Tag: 2.97 kg
Orange Tag: 2.93 kg
Yellow Tag: 2.69 kg
Pink Tag: 1.82 kg
Double Green Tags: 1.96 kg

Green Tag, digging for buried fruit, before he was moved:

April 28, 2017

The five Black Bear cubs are doing well at the Wildlife Center; all are eating and gaining weight! The cubs are currently housed in two zinger crates in the Center's outdoor metals complex, where they can have supervised playtime while smelling and hearing the outdoors.

On April 27, three of the cubs were brought into the clinic so that the veterinary team could anesthetize them, take radiographs, and ear tag them. Fortunately for Hospital Cam viewers, the cubs woke up from anesthesia while on cam!

 

 

Current weights and IDs are:

Black Bear cub #17-0352 [No Tag]: 2.42 kg
Black Bear cub  #17-0374, [Red Tag]: 3.71 kg
Black Bear cub #17-0411 [Green Tag]: 2.67 kg
Black Bear cub #17-0444 [White Tag]: 3.21 kg
Black Bear cub #17-0606 [Orange Tag]: 1.83 kg

April 20, 2017

The four Black Bear cubs have been doing well at the Center; they will soon make the move to the Center's outdoor metal cage complex, where they'll remain in their zinger crates in between supervised play and feeding sessions. They'll move to the Center's Large Mammal Isolation enclosure, likely in mid-May.

Current weights are:

Cub #0352: 1.65 kg
Cub #0374: 2.52 kg
Cub #0411: 2.44 kg
Cub #0444: 2.61 kg

The cubs will each soon receive a colored identification tag in one ear.

Here are some recent photos of a bear cub play session!

Cub #0352 (first female): 

Cub #0444 (second female)

Cub #0374 (first male)

Organized chaos: 

Cub #0374 (first male)