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June 22, 2002 (rt23 news) - In response to the killing of a mother bear by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the NJ Bear Education And Resource (BEAR) Group formed a search party to look for two orphan cubs left behind.

"Our hotline has been ringing off the hook because residents are concerned that the cubs will die on their own," reports Lynda Smith, the Director of the BEAR group. "In response, we hope to find the cubs and chase them up a tree until they can be captured and placed with a wildlife rehabilitator." The two cubs are only 6 months old and weigh approximately 20-30 lbs. Black bears normally remain with their mothers until they reach 18 months of age and approximately 60-100 lbs. Cubs orphaned at this age are not likely to survive without their motherís protection.

Three teams set out in Vernon, NJ to look for the cubs and pass out flyers to residents asking them to call us if they saw the cubs. The residents were overwhelmingly supportive of our efforts, and cub sightings were phoned in all day Friday and today. The cubs werer spotted in a bunch of bushes. One cub was "treed" and another chased and also treed. Sussex Rural Electric sent a bucket loader.

Before the bucket truck arrived, The cubs were getting tired and definitely wanted to come down. The team decided not to wait for the bucket loader and the male was shot with a tranquilizer dart, and fell about 25 feet into the waiting arms of a volunteer! The bucket loader showed up, and the team went to work on the female cub. She ran very far up the tree when shot with the tranquilizer. The bucket loader was used to pick her off before she fell into the net. Both cubs checked out and were fine.

The female weighed 23.5 lbs. and the male weighed 27 lbs. They were put into a trap in the back of a pickup for a trip to the wildlife rehabilitatorís. The cubs arrived still sleeping and were put in a pen and given water. This effort is a great success for the NJ Bear Education And Resource (BEAR) group, NJ Fish and Wildlife Division and the many volunteers, police and firemen who made this rescue possible.

If youíd like to make a donation for the cubsí care, please contact Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, PO Box 5046, Clinton, NJ 08809.

Posted by: Staff at
June 22, 2002


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