Two bear cubs separated after their mother was found dead in the San Bernardino Mountains have been rescued, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.
The male cubs are staying at the 13-acre Ramona Wildlife Center, one of five campuses operated by the San Diego Humane Society. The cubs are being housed and looked after by Project Wildlife’s animal caregivers in an indoor/outdoor medical facility in Ramona.
“At only three months, the bear cub brothers would have been too young to survive on their own,” humane society officials told the Daily Press. “Black bear cubs typically stay with their mother, the sow, for up to 17 months.”
The animal caregivers have set up an environment for the bears, which includes native plants and substrates, such as California live oak, pine, clover, mulberry branches, fruit tree branches, mulch, hummingbird sage, sumac, chamomile flowers, and herbs.
“Next steps will include an anesthetized exam of each bear, and then once ready, a move to an outdoor, larger enclosure allowing them to exhibit more natural behaviors,” human society officials said. “Project Wildlife’s team hopes to return the bears to the wild early next year.”
The cubs were discovered as orphans after a Forest Falls resident told authorities she found a dead bear on her property on July 3, wildlife officials said.
Forest Falls is located south of Big Bear Lake and north of Interstate 10.
BiologistKevin Howells, who oversees Region 6 with the CDFW, responded and discovered a dead female bear recently lactating. Howells also found a male bear in the area who might have killed the female bear. He also heard the sound of bear cubs calling to each other.
On July 4, a CDFW team captured one cub with the help of a bait trap. The bears were reunited after the second cub was trapped on July 7.
“They were vocalizing and immediately re-bonded with each other,” said Andy Blue, campus director of the Ramona Wildlife Center. “Our goal now is to raise them with limited to no human interaction and get them ready to return to the wild.”
Other rescued bear cubs
In June, San Diego Humane Society officials announced that two other bear cubs were released into the wild after spending five months at the Ramona Wildlife Center, one of four licensed bear rehabilitation centers in California.
The male and female cubs, each 15 months old, were released in Inyo and Tulare counties by the CDFW.
After being orphaned, the male cub showed signs of becoming accustomed to humans, which posed risks for the bears and the public. The female cub was discovered abandoned and malnourished. Wildlife authorities believe she was orphaned due to heavy rainstorms that often flood bear dens.
“We are immensely grateful to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and our exceptional Project Wildlife team for providing these bears with the opportunity to lead healthy lives in their natural habitat,” humane society officials said.
The Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program is the primary resource for wild animal rehabilitation and conservation education in San Diego County.
San Diego Humane Society gives nearly 13,000 injured, orphaned, and sick wild animals a second chance yearly.
At the Ramona Campus, San Diego Humane Society specializes in caring for native apex predators and birds of prey, including hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, bears, bobcats, and, under special pilot authorization, mountain lions.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.