Black Bear cubs #15-0049, #15-0050, and #15-0051

January 23, 2015
Rescue Location
Shenandoah County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Possibly orphaned
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On January 22, a homeowner in Shenandoah County, Virginia, was outside cutting wood. He heard the cries of a young animal and went to investigate; he found three young Black Bear cubs on the ground between two trees. He left the cubs where they were and resumed cutting wood; when he checked on them later, the cubs were still there, and there was no sign of their mother. Snow was beginning to fall directly onto the cubs, so the homeowner took them into his house and called the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Due to the situation and impending winter weather, the DGIF biologist recommended bringing the three cubs to the Wildlife Center. In speaking with officials at DGIF, the thought is that the sow was scared away from her cubs by the sound of the chainsaw and did not have time to return to them before it began snowing. A volunteer transporter drove to pick up the cubs; rehab intern Jordan Herring met the transporter in Harrisonburg to bring the cubs the rest of the way to Waynesboro.

Dr. Meghan, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the three male cubs when they arrived. Each cub was bright and alert, highly vocal, and active. Dr. Meghan found that the cubs were in good body condition with no injuries. Each cub was slightly dehydrated, and one was hypoglycemic, though was not exhibiting any symptoms. The cubs received fluids and a small amount of karo syrup and were placed in an incubator in the Center’s ICU. The three cubs are about two- to three-weeks-old and range from 635 - 654 grams.


The cubs are currently bottle-fed five times a day, every four to five hours. The staff is closely monitoring the cubs' weights as well as their blood glucose levels. The Wildlife Center is working closely with DGIF; if a DGIF biologist is able to find an appropriate wild surrogate mother, the cubs will likely be fostered onto her.

You can help support our work with native wildlife.

Your donation will help provide specialized formula and round-the-clock care for these three black bear cubs and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has located an active den with a confirmed sow (female) and cubs. On Tuesday, January 27, two DGIF biologists will pick up the cubs at the Center and will take them to the active den site for possible fostering.

Ideally, the biologists will be able to count the number of cubs already present in the den and will also be able to visually assess the sow; if the sow is large and has one or two cubs, all three of the Wildlife Center cubs will be able to be fostered onto the sow. If the sow has three or more cubs, then likely only one of the Wildlife Center cubs will be fostered, and the other two cubs will be returned to the Center until a second active den can be located. The biologists will have to assess the situation in the field.

The Wildlife Center staff are relieved that there may be a good fostering situation for these cubs; there’s no better option for these cubs than to be cared for by a wild bear!

If you find a baby bear this winter or spring, please leave the cub(s) where you found it. Do not feed the cub, and call the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The DGIF biologists reported a successful fostering this afternoon! When the two biologists and one Department of Forestry official arrived at the den site, each of the three people zipped a cub into his or her jacket to keep them warm and snug on the hike to the den. After a couple of minutes, the cubs started crying – not an ideal way to sneak up on a denning sow. The three cubs were quickly placed back together in the jacket of one official, and the team of people continued the hike to the den.

All was quiet at the den site. The biologist with the cubs quietly climbed over the log under with the sow was denning. Just as he was on top of the log, one of the cubs in his jacket started crying – and the sow poked her head out of the den! The biologist quickly placed the cubs near the den opening and quietly backed away. Each time he turned around to check on the cubs, one fewer was sitting where he left them. By the time the biologist retreated a few feet from the den, all cubs had been picked up and taken into the den. All was quiet.

Given the situation, the biologists were unable to see how many cubs were present with the sow. All they know is that a cub was heard yesterday. The Wildlife Center is happy that a wild foster bear was located so quickly, so that these cubs could have the best chance of survival.

This photo of the foster mom in her den was taken by a quail hunter on Saturday. The hunter reported the den to the quail biologist in the region, and the quail biologist contacted Black Bear Project Leader Jaime Sajecki.