When fish and wildlife officers brought two Black Bear cubs to PAWS in July of 2009 from coastal Oregon, the bears were just little balls of fur weighing around 30 pounds each. We estimated their age to be about 6 months.
I was both excited and sad that we had received them. Excited because I had never seen bear cubs that small and sad that they were needing rehabilitation in the first place. These little guys, both males, were orphaned as a result of their mother being shot. Because the people in the community were feeding the bear family, mom got too comfortable and helped herself to an un-penned chicken, which resulted in her death.
Nearly 8 months later after growing up at PAWS, they are now back in their native habitat, hopefully roaming their new territory, foraging, playing, and just being bears.
The boys were released Sunday, April 4 by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in central Oregon.
Before they left PAWS Wildlife Center, our veterinarian, Dr. John Huckabee and veterinary student extern, Michelle Malament, tranquilized the bears, with the help of the rehabilitation team, and gave them a last examination as illustrated in the photos.
One bear was fitted with a radio collar and both were ear-tagged so the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can track them.
I will miss seeing them on our camera monitors in the wildlife center lobby. But I am much happier that they are back where they belong.