'Crying, confused' abandoned bear cub rescued [Photos]
The California Department of Fish and Game worked with wildlife organizations over the weekend to help save a 3-month-old bear cub officials believe may have been abandoned or orphaned near Ojai.
Wardens received a call from the Ojai Raptor Center in Ventura County on Friday after the 10-pound female cub was brought to the center by an employee of a nearby avocado ranch.
The employee had seen the cub “scrambling around looking for mom,” for days, Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan said.
“She was crying, confused, and she was clearly disoriented, and not trained on how to survive,” Hughan said.
Discovering a cub in October that weighed only 10 pounds is unusual, Hughan added, because cubs are typically born in early spring and weigh 40 or more pounds by the fall. “She wouldn’t have survived in the wild,” he said.
After inspecting the area where the cub had roamed, a warden found “large bear tracks" but did not find "any evidence” of the cub's mother in the area, a Fish and Game statement said. Hughan said it’s likely the cub was abandoned.
Other than her weight, wildlife rehabilitation personnel found the cub to be alert and healthy. After further evaluation at the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, the bear cub was approved for rehabilitation and release.
The cub was held at the Wildlife Center for the weekend before being transported to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care early Monday, Hughan said. The bear will be cared for there over the winter before being released back into the wild in the spring, Hughan said.
After a spring and summer full of bear sightings and visits in Los Angeles, Hughan said “bear activity” should decrease significantly within the next few weeks as the seasons change.
One resident named that bear “Glen Bearian” and launched a Twitter handle for him. That bear, also known as “Meatball” remains at the Lions, Tigers & Bears animal sanctuary in Alpine, where some fans, including Hughan, have paid him a visit.
The 10-pound female cub, however, has yet to be named.
"She’s still No. 2 because of my emotional attachment with Glen,” Hughan said. “But she’s pretty darn cute, and more importantly, she's healthy.”
— Matt Stevens
Photo: A 3-month-old bear cub was discovered in Ojai and is now in Lake Tahoe undergoing rehabilitation. Credit: California Department of Fish and Game.