Black Bear cub #14-0224

April 4, 2014
August 4, 2014
Rescue Location
Giles County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Separated from mother
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On April 3, rescuers found a small Black Bear cub in the middle of a gravel road in Giles County, Virginia. The rescuers called the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and a local biologist responded to the scene to assist with the situation. The cub was left in the area (off of the road) while rescuers waited for the mother bear to return. When the biologist arrived, she searched the entire area for a bear den – no den was found. DGIF decided to send the cub to the Wildlife Center the following day. This is the first bear cub of 2014.

Dr. Kristin, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the young cub when it arrived at the Center on Friday evening. She found the female cub to be in good health; she weighed in at 1.8 kg.

The cub will be housed indoors and will be bottled fed several times a day.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Black Bear cub … and to the 2,500 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. Please help!

Patient Updates

Final comparison — from admission to release!

Black Bear cubs #14-0224 and #14-0394 are eating well and have been learning to eat thickened formula from a bowl during the past week. On the last “weigh day”, cub #14-0224 weighed 2.93 kg; cub #14-0394 weighed 2.36 kg. The rehabilitation staff are cutting the three times-a-day feedings down to two feedings a day.

With this most recent change, it’s time to get the two cubs outside and farther away from humans. Certified wildlife rehabilitator Amber moved the two cubs to Bear Pen #3 – the cinderblock enclosure where the other three bears cubs and surrogate yearling are housed. On Monday, Dr. Rich will dart one of the female yearlings in yard #2 and will move her to Bear Pen #3 with the cubs – the yearling will act as a surrogate “sister” to the two cubs. The Wildlife Center has used this technique before – this will actually make the second “family unit” of bears at the Wildlife Center. One female yearling and three different cubs are living in Bear Pen #1 and getting along quite well.

The introduction of Black Bear cubs #14-0224 and #14-0394 went well this weekend; both cubs are getting along and the staff are quite pleased that each of these cubs has a playmate its own size. Female Black Bear cub #14-0224 is finally getting the hang of bowl feeding, and is eating her thickened formula well. New cub #14-0394 is reluctant to eat out of a bowl, although after observing his new “sister” eating, he began to explore the bowl option.

Once both bears are eating consistently on their own, they will be moved outside. At this point, the Center plans on pulling an additional female yearling from Black Bear Complex yard #2 to act as a surrogate to these two cubs.

Black Bear cub #14-0224 is doing well and currently weighs 2.16 kg. The rehabilitation staff are still working on transitioning the cub to a consistent bowl-feeding schedule – while the cub will lap a little bit of thickened formula out of a bowl, she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. Once the cub is consistently eating and is ready for a twice-a-day diet, she will be moved to Bear Pen 1 with cubs #14-0252 and #14-0253 and yearling #14-0126.

Bear cub #14-0224 experienced a small setback last week after she aspirated a small amount of formula. The cub was reluctant to eat for a couple of days, although the bear improved greatly after a course of antibiotics and oxygen therapy. The cub is currently eating well, and the staff rehabilitators are working hard to transition the young cub to drinking formula out of a bowl.

After the cub is consistently drinking formula from a bowl, the staff will re-introduce her to cubs #14-0252 and #14-253, as well as a “big sister” – a female yearling admitted earlier this year. This technique was used by the Wildlife Center in 2012 and there have been several other instances at other bear rehabilitation facilities when cubs were fostered onto female yearlings. According to Jaime Sajecki, Virginia’s state bear biologist, after a period of introduction, some female yearlings will readily accept young cubs and will essentially teach them "how to be bears." Despite not being of breeding age, the maternal instincts of these female yearlings kick in after they are introduced to their young charges.


Black Bear cub #14-0224 has settled in at the Wildlife Center and is taking her bottles well. The rehabilitation staff began feeding the cub four times a day last week; because feeding is going well, the bear was moved to a three time a day schedule today. The cub gained weight and now weighs 1.855 kg.

Here is a video compilation of two feedings – wildlife rehabilitation intern Jordan feeds the cub in the first half of the video; certified wildlife rehabilitator Kelli feeds the cub in the second part.