Black Bear cubs #14-0252 and #14-0253

Admitted
April 7, 2014
Released
August 4, 2014
Rescue Location
Alleghany County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Orphaned
Status
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On April 7, the Wildlife Center admitted two Black Bear cubs. The cubs were found after their mother was hit by a car in Alleghany County, Virginia.

Upon admission, Dr. Kristin Britton, diagnostic intern Kelli, and two veterinary externs examined the cubs. Cub 14-0252, a female, weighed in at 3.23 kg. Cub #14-0253, a male, weighed 4.68 kg. Both cubs were bright, alert, and healthy.

The cubs will likely be introduced to cub #14-0224 this week.

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

Patient Updates

Let the introductions begin!

On April 17, the Wildlife Center rehabilitation staff began introducing Black Bear cubs #14-0252 and 14-0253 to Black Bear yearling #14-0126. The two cubs were placed in a zinger crate inside Bear Pen #1 so that the cubs and yearling could see and hear one another, but couldn’t directly interact right away. On April 18, certified wildlife rehabilitator Amber opened the door to the zinger crate, as well as the connecting door to Bear Pen 2. This means that the cubs and the yearling are free to interact with one another, and have the run of both pens 1 and 2.

One of the cubs soon walked out of the zinger crate and walked around the bear pen briefly. Yearling #14-0126 watched, but showed no interest in interacting. The Wildlife Center used a female yearling bear in a surrogate role in 2012; at that time, it took about three days for the bears to start interacting with one another.

The two cubs are eating well and are offered a “mush bowl” twice a day. The mush bowls consist of thickened bear formula, softened puppy chow, and small pieces of fruit.


 

Bear cubs #14-0252 and #14-0253 are bright and alert – and are definitely a handful! Since the cubs’ admissions, the rehabilitation staff has been feeding the two bears three times a day. While Kelli and Amber began bottle-feeding the cubs, both rehabilitators have been working hard during the past week to transition the cubs to lapping thickened formula from a bowl. This will decrease the amount of hands-on time required for the bear cubs, and will allow the staff to move the bears outside more quickly. Female cub #14-0252 took to the bowl much more quickly; #14-0253 (the male) finally began accepting formula from a bowl on April 13.

When both cubs are more consistently drinking formula from the bowl, they will be moved outside to the Center’s Bear Pens [cinderblock enclosure]. The current plan is to pull a female yearling that was admitted earlier this year from Bear Complex yard #2 – with the idea that the female yearling will act as a big sister/surrogate to the cubs. 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. 

After the yearling and cubs establish a bond and become a family unit, the bears will then be moved to the Center’s Black Bear Complex. Stay tuned for more information as plans unfold this week!