Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Bear moved to Idaho facility


The black bear cub discovered and immobilized in town last week arrived safely in Idaho Friday.

Lucy Diggins-Wold, Wyoming Game and Fish Green River Information and Education Specialist, said it took the bear 15 minutes to come out of the truck once it arrived at the certified black-bear rehabilitation center in Idaho.

Although he acted skeptical at first, he immediately started roaming around his new outside enclosure.

This Idaho center has been doing black-bear rehabilitation since 1989 and has rehabilitated black bears from Wyoming in the past, a Game and Fish press release stated.

Prior to making the trip, the five-month-old bear cub needed to be examined by a veterinarian.

Diggins-Wold said another stipulation was that once the bear cub has been successfully rehabilitated and can survive on its own it must be released back into Wyoming.

Diggins-Wold said they are not sure how long the bear will remain at the rehabilitation center, but hopefully next spring of fall he will be big enough to fend for himself.

"The bear cub was approximately five months old and we do not know where it came from and or where the sow is," Green River Wildlife Management Coordinator Mark Zornes said in a press release. "Black bears usually do not wander into Green River, so this is a rare incident. Survival of bear cubs this age is extremely low when separated from the sow. As a general rule, we do not send bears to rehabilitation facilities. We generally seek to relocate bears to the wild rather than place them in a facility because finding a suitable facility is difficult."

However, given the uniqueness of the situation, the Game and Fish Department had no choice but to find a rehabilitation center for him.

"We were glad we did not have to euthanize the bear," Zornes added. "Nobody likes to see a young animal put down. In fact, it is one of the hardest parts of a wildlife manager's job, but is sometimes necessary. We are hopeful the young bear will be appropriately reconditioned and available for release back to the wild next spring. For successful rehabilitation prior to release, it is important the cub remains healthy, increases his body weight to an appropriate level, and loses his human-habituated behavior."

Zornes said the bear appears to have been habituated by humans.

"This is bad for both the bear and for all the people the bear might encounter," Zornes said. "Habituated bears are often euthanized due to the danger they pose. Black bears are large, wild animals, capable of inflicting serious injury. Fear of humans, for a black bear, is a good thing. This boar cub was cute and cuddly at 30 pounds, but will be less so when he is an adult of 300 to 400 pounds."

Courtesy of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The black bear captured in Green River last week was transported to Idaho to for care and eventual re-introduction into the wild.

"We do worry that people will not think of them (bears) as wild animals and there will be problems down the road for wild animals and people," Diggins-Wold said. "To be safe, never pick up any wild animals and just let them be wild."

Even though the bear cub was only in Green River for about a week, Diggins-Wold said she will miss him.

"I will miss him because it was some wild excitement for us all," Diggins-Wold said. "It was pretty crazy around here, with multiple phone calls and people coming into the office to see if the bear was OK."

"We have good memories of his stay; he lived through his ordeal and hopefully can come back to the wilds of Wyoming," she said.

"A lot of hard work and negotiation went on behind the scenes this week to make it possible for this black bear cub to be transported to Idaho," Zornes said. "We are thankful to the Green River Police Department and the Green River Fire Department for their assistance and to the veterinarian for his services."


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