Abandoned cubs relocated to Washington care facility

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Cubs are expected to recover and be released back into the wild

A male bear cub picked up by a hiker along the Santiam River Trail has been sent to a wildlife rehabilitation facility to continue its growth, according to Colin Gillin, the ODFW state wildlife veterinarian who has been taking care of the cub with his veterinary staff.

A second bear cub, a female, arrived at ODFW’s Corvallis office on Thursday, March 30, after its den near Myrtle Creek was disturbed by a brush-clearing operation. The mother bear was believed to have abandoned the bear cub due to the continuing disturbance, and it was determined that the mother bear was unlikely to return.

Both bear cubs are of similar age, between three and four months old; the male cub weighed 4.5 pounds and the female weighed 6 pounds. The male bear cub was treated for mild pneumonia by ODFW veterinarian Julia Burco and several other staff, who worked with the Oregon State School of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate the cub.

On Friday, March 31, both bear cubs were transported to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynwood, Wash., a rehabilitation facility used by the ODFW because of its specialized standard of care designed to allow young bears to develop without habituating to humans so they can be returned to Oregon for release into the wild.

“We’ll receive these cubs as unhabituated and year-old bears sometime between March and June of 2018,” Gillin said. “And they’ll be between 100 and 150 pounds at the time of release.”

ODFW and Oregon State Police remind Oregonians that taking young animals out of the wild isn’t just against the law, it’s also bad for the animal.

These animals miss the chance to learn important survival skills from their mother like where to feed, what to eat, how to behave and avoid danger and predators.

The hiker who picked up the male bear cub March 26 was given a warning by State Troopers.

Although the OSP did not issue a citation for this specific occurrence, individuals have been cited in the past for similar activities. Oregon State Police will look at each case individually and decide whether a citation or warning will be issued.

Before picking up any wild animal, call ODFW, Oregon State Police or a wildlife rehabilitator for advice. Removing or “capturing” an animal from the wild and keeping it in captivity without a permit is against state law (OAR 635-044-0015), as is transporting many animals.

Last year, seven people were cited for such offenses. Contact veterinary staff toll-free at 866-968-2600.

Follow these tips if you encounter young animals in the wild:

Deer, elk and other mammals:

  • Never assume an animal is orphaned. Taking a newborn deer fawn into captivity is illegal without appropriate permits or licensing. Don’t handle the animal, move it or remove it from the forest, including your backyard. Female deer and elk and other mammals will often leave their young temporarily for safety reasons or to feed elsewhere. They will return when it is safe to do so (when people, dogs, or predators are not present).
  • Call your local ODFW office, Oregon State Police office or a local licensed wildlife rehabilitation center when:

1) you see an animal that you know is orphaned because you observed the dead parent animal, or

2) the parent hasn’t returned for several hours or even up to a day, or

3) if the animal is clearly inured or in distress.

  • Bunnies are rarely orphaned; mother rabbits only visit den sites at dusk and dawn to feed her young.
  • Keep your dog or cat away from young wildlife, especially in the spring.
  • If you see a seal pup, young sea lion, or other marine mammal that appears stranded or in distress, contact OSP’s hotline at 1-800-452-7888.

Birds:

  • Leave fledgling birds alone. It is natural for fledgling (mostly feathered) birds to appear awkward while learning how to fly. If you see a young on the ground, leave it alone and keep your distance. Bring your pets under control and indoors (particularly cats) if possible.

The mother bird may feed the fledgling for several days on the ground until it “gets its wings.

  • Return nestling birds to the nest. Nestlings (baby birds not fully feathered) found on the ground can be gently and quickly returned to the nest.

If the nest is out of reach, place the bird on an elevated branch or fence, or in a nest made from a small box, out of the reach of children and pets. Leave the area so the parent birds can return to feed them.

Most move it out of harm’s way so it won’t be struck by a vehicle.

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