Utah State University cares for orphaned bear cubs

Posted at 9:49 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-29 23:49:52-04

LOGAN, Utah - Step aside April the Giraffe, these black bears are stealing hearts thanks to a live camera in their enclosure and they're right here in Utah.

The cubs are in a rehab facility getting all the "bear necessities" to make it on their own thanks to DWR and students at Utah State University, but this year the facility is seeing more bears than ever.

“It's been unusual," Darren DeBloiss, Mammals Coordinator for DWR said.  "This is the most bear cubs we've ever had to rehab."

The cubs are so cute it's almost unbearable.  But none of them have a mom anymore.

“We had a couple that were orphaned when mom was hit by a car on highway," DeBloisss said.  "Another was taken by a hunter and he didn't realize the bear had a cub until after he had taken the bear."

When that happens, DWR picks up the cubs, checks them out and brings them to Millville’s rehab facility, the National Wildlife Research Center run by DWR and Utah State University.  It's a first-of-it’s-kind for Utah and only a couple years old.

“When we get these little bear cubs it's nice to have a place we can bring them feed them for a summer and get them fattened up,” DeBloiss said.

And that's just what these baby bears are doing in their temporary home, spending their days eating and playing.

“Some of these bears are pretty small and they come in and really would have no chance to survive in the wild without some help in the summer to get them ready to go back,” DeBloiss said.

DeBloiss said these bears will triple in size by the time they're released.  “They'll probably be fatter than most bear cubs in the wild."

And wild is important so these cubs have little to no human contact.

“We separate them when we feed them and try to bring them into the pen so they have a chance to forage around,” DeBloiss said.

Thanks to a live camera in their enclosure you can see them at least for a couple of months.

“We'll keep them here until the October November time frame and then we'll let them go," DeBloiss said.  "We want to give them time to get familiar with the area and get a den, they'll be good and fat and ready to sleep."

When they're released the bears will get a tracker.  DWR says they've had a lot of success placing bears back into the wilds.

If you want to watch the adorable live feed, here's where you can see the cubs.