For more than two-and-a-half decades PAWS Wildlife Center has been rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned American Black Bear cubs. An orphaned female cub that we received on May 19 is the 78th bear to come through our doors. The cub, known as patient number 12-0790, was found along with a male sibling on the side of a highway near Corvallis, OR. Both cubs were starving and weak when they were rescued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Unfortunately, the male cub did not survive. How the cubs became separated from their mother is unknown.
Weighing in at a little less than four pounds, Black Bear 12-0790 is among the smallest that we have received. At this size she is tiny enough to be scruffed like a puppy, but she is not entirely defenseless. As you can see below, the young bear already has an impressive set of claws. Although young cubs will try to defend themselves by swatting and scratching when cornered, the main purpose of these claws is to enable the bear to make a quick escape up the trunk of a tree.
As of this writing, Black Bear 12-0790 has been in care for six days. She has already gained more than a pound and she is getting stronger every day. If all goes well, she will return to the wild in Oregon sometime next spring.