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Lost Bear Cub Brought to Poconos

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — A bear cub that got separated from his mom near Harrisburg is now getting some TLC here in the Poconos.

Behind lock and key, this baby bear is quite a long way from home. A game commission officer brought him to the Poconos from the Harrisburg area where the eight-pound ball of fur was found wandering, all alone.

“He’s not an orphan, he’s not abandoned, he’s what we’d call displaced,” said Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center Director Kathy Uhler.

Uhler is taking care of the cub at the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center near Stroudsburg, while the game commission works on the tough part: finding momma bear.

They believe she’s somewhere near a shopping center in Dauphin County where the cub was picked up and cared for last week.

“Those officers are diligently working to set traps, to get mom in their possession, and once we do that, we can reunite this little guy with her,” said Wildlife Conservation Officer Bryan Mowrer.

While this baby bear waits, Uhler says he’s rather lonely.

The only interaction this bear cub will see is when he gets his daily grub.

“It’s a very sad thing that he’s lonely, but at least at this age he knows he’s a bear, and he knows that I’m not and we need to maintain that barrier,” said Uhler.

Until this bear is hopefully reunited with his mom, he’ll be drinking a lot of formula, along with eating some fruit, nuts, and insects. One canister of this costs $150 and will only last about two weeks.

“We want to put the time in but we do need the financial help to buy the formula which is very expensive, and it’s made specifically for bears,” said Uhler.

If mom isn’t found, the game commission will release the cub in August when he’s old enough and strong enough to fend for himself.

As for a name for this cub, well, he doesn’t really have one.

“Best thing for wildlife is to keep it wild, and the least attachment you can get to them is the best, so bear cub is bear cub,” said Mowrer.

Officers also want to warn that if you see a bear or other animal alone, leave it alone and call the game commission.

9 comments

  • Chris

    When concocting the idea of trapping a female bear in that area with the Hope that it might be this bear cub’s mother, the Game Commission has to take into consideration that the mother could have other cubs and not just this one. For safety, Mother bears send their cubs up trees. If a mother bear in that area with cubs investigated the trap and the door closed and her cubs were up a nearby tree, that would be a horrible scenario for all the animals concerned. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to place Trail cams in the area the cub was found and check them regularly? Then when a lone sow or a sow with cubs has been seen regularly on the cams around specific times, take the baby to that area during those times in a pet carriers and if the mother is seen nearby, let it go to find its mother and be reunited? That would seem like far less trauma for the bears. It would take a little bit more effort and time, but with more than one CO monitoring the area, and coordinating sightings with others standing by, seems more feasible than trapping a bear.

    I also disagree with releasing cubs before they are 1 year to 16 months old. They need more time to forage successfully and gain a lot of weight in order to hibernate. Yes, a lot of bear knowledge may be instinctual, but baby bears and yearlings learn everything they need to know from their mothers. Without their mother or an adoptive mother bear or older sibling (as in a mixed litter), they are at a disadvantage out in the wild. Especially being less than 1 yr old. I do not think they are doing baby bears any favors by releasing them so young. It would be better for the bears to be released closer to normal family breakup time, lin the Spring when natural foods are growing and more abundant.

  • JP

    More than likely the mom left the cub to forage for food. People need to leave wild animals alone and not automatically assume they are abandoned just because the mom is not right there. They have been surviving and raising their young just as long as mankind has been.

  • Barb Monroe

    Here in PA, Pocono Wildlife Rehab is one of only two in the state that are licensed to take care of bear cubs. They are under the protection of the PA Dept of Conservation, they make the rules, and they have decided to release them in August. Kathy at PWR has been very successful in the past with preparing these cubs to fend for themselves back in the wild without their Moms (they are tagged and tracked). At least with her help they have a fighting chance to survive. Without her help they would surely die. Yes, you are correct in stating that the cubs stay with their Moms the whole first year. A few months of rehabilitation is better than none! No bear cub in PA will ever be moved to an out of state facility. Hopefully, in this particular case they will successfully reunite the Mom and cub.

  • Peter

    I believe the bear will be still to young to fend for itself in August Cubs are still with there mothers for over a year.
    Why can’t the cub be sent to the “North American Bear Center” (NABC) bear.org. In Ely, Minnesota where they have the facilities to care for the cub.

    • Barb Monroe

      Here in PA, Pocono Wildlife Rehab is one of only two in the state that are licensed to take care of bear cubs. They are under the protection of the PA Dept of Conservation, they make the rules, and they have decided to release them in August. Kathy at PWR has been very successful in the past with preparing these cubs to fend for themselves back in the wild without their Moms (they are tagged and tracked). At least with her help they have a fighting chance to survive. Without her help they would surely die. Yes, you are correct in stating that the cubs stay with their Moms the whole first year. A few months of rehabilitation is better than none! No bear cub in PA will ever be moved to an out of state facility. Hopefully, in this particular case they will successfully reunite the Mom and cub.

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