Three black bear cubs orphaned in the San Bernardino Mountains this summer have passed their health exams and will continue their stay at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center until they’re strong enough to return to the wild.
Two of the cubs, a 6-month-old brother and sister, were found separately on July 9 and 12 in the Valley of Falls by California Department of Fish and Wildlife teams after their mother was killed by a person while attempting to break into a cabin. The mother had been conditioned to seek food from humans, according to the wildlife center.
The third cub, a female, arrived three days later after her mother was believed to have been struck by a car near Lake Arrowhead.
They were transferred to the Ramona Wildlife Center, were the trio spent two days apart before officials placed them in an indoor/outdoor wildlife enclosure together. The center specializes in caring for native predators and birds of prey including hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, bears, bobcats and sometimes mountain lions.
“The single female cub, who is actually much bigger than the two siblings, was rather shy and quiet in the beginning,” Dr. Jon Enyart, Senior Director of Project Wildlife, said in a statement. “It took some time for the brother and sister to invite her into their family, but now they do everything together.”
On Aug. 4, veterinary teams gave the bears a full checkup, including blood work, radiographs of their bodies, checking teeth and taking measurements. The teams found the cubs to be in good health.
They were also microchipped.
Since then, the cubs have enjoyed their time together in an outdoor enclosure, playing in and investigating their habitat and learning to forage for food.
Officials said the move outdoors is an important step in their return to the wild, offering access to trees, shrubs and natural substrate, as well as acclimating them to the weather.
“It is so important that these bears do not get comfortable around humans and associate us people with food,” Andy Blue, campus director of San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center, said in the statement. “For their own safety and the safety of the public, we want them to avoid humans at all cost, and learn how to forage and hunt so that they can survive on their own in the wild.”