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Black bear cub from Ashland being rehabilitated for return to the wild

Black bear cub
The female black bear cub this morning (Oct. 22) at PAWS. Photo courtesy of PAWS.

October 22, 2014

SALEM, Ore.—A black bear cub found wandering the aisles of a Rite Aid in Ashland, Ore. on Sunday has been transferred to PAWS in Lynnwood, Wash. PAWS will be caring for the cub with the goal of returning it to the wild next year. 

The cub was picked up by ODFW and Oregon State Police on Sunday evening, October 19 and taken to ODFW’s Wildlife Health Lab near Corvallis, Ore. the next morning. The cub was transferred to PAWS yesterday (Oct. 21).

PAWS veterinarians describe the cub’s condition as guarded to good. They are waiting for results of bloodwork to get a better sense of the cub’s overall health.

ODFW wildlife veterinarians examined the female cub and found her to be a little thin at 13 pounds. Most black bear cubs are born in January, so this cub may be underweight because she was born later in the year or her growth may have been stunted. 

There have been no reports of a sow killed, so biologists don’t know what happened to the bear’s mother. The local bear population is healthy so bear sightings are common in this area.

The PAWS Wildlife Center is a top bear rehabilitation facility in the country with a full wildlife veterinarian staff and hospital. Bears and other wild animals brought to the center are cared for under special methods that mimic natural conditions in the wild. “Bears are given diets filled with natural foods they would normally forage for in the wild,” said Jennifer Convy, PAWS wildlife director. “PAWS Wildlife Center rehabilitates and treats bear cubs with a hands-off method with no human interaction so rehabilitated bears maintain their natural fear of humans and don’t become habituated to people.”

ODFW hopes to release the black bear cub back into suitable habitat in southern Oregon in spring 2015.

Oregon is home to an estimated 25,000-30,000 black bears.


Michelle Dennehy or Meghan Dugan
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 947-6022 or (541) 440-3353 /

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