The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and two wildlife organizations worked together over the weekend to save the life of a bear cub near Ojai.
DFG wardens received a call from the Ojai Raptor Center in Ventura County about a young bear cub that had been brought to their facility. The cub was brought to the Ojai Raptor Center by an employee of a nearby ranch who had seen the cub without its mother for three days and thought it had been orphaned or abandoned.
Upon arrival the warden and wildlife rehabilitation personnel examined the cub and determined it to be a female, approximately 3-months-old and weighing just 10 pounds. The cub was alert and otherwise healthy.
The warden inspected the area where the bear cub had been seen over the past several days and did see large bear tracks but did not find any evidence (scat, rooting damage, bed/denning behavior, etc.) of a female sow in the area.
Based on the evidence DFG concluded the bear cub was abandoned or orphaned by its mother and due to its small size would not survive in the wild without her.
The cub was taken to The California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, another DFG-permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility, where it was evaluated by a wildlife veterinarian. With concurrence of DFG wildlife veterinarians the bear cub was approved as an excellent candidate for rehabilitation and release. The bear cub was held at the California Wildlife Center for the weekend and on Monday morning the cub was transported by DFG natural resource volunteers to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where it will be cared for over the winter before release back into the wild.
As the state agency responsible for the care and management of wildlife, DFG’s preference is to keep animals in the wild whenever possible. In special circumstances the department has partners that provide support and services to help injured, orphaned or abandoned wildlife return to their natural habitat.
Image courtesy California DFG