On the morning of April 12, 2016, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) delivered four orphaned black bear cubs whose mother had been found deceased in the Lake Tahoe Basin to Animal Ark.
The two males and two females only weighed about eight pounds each, and were about three and one-half months old. They would not have survived without their mother.
It will be our responsibility to minimize human contact and to raise these bears until they have gained enough weight, fat content and size to be released back into the wild sometime in late winter of 2017. Since they are so young, they started out eating mainly baby formula, and are now transitioning to solid food.
The diet of these cubs will mimic as close as possible what they may eat in the wild: venison, trout, fruit, pine nuts, berries and insects. Feeding these bears is very expensive, running as high as $100 per bear per week in the fall leading up to hibernation. They are being cared for by only a few people and will not be on display for the public. However, we will be monitoring the bears and posting photos and videos on our website, Facebook page and in the Animal Ark Visitor Center. Enrichment activities and bear “furniture” will help ensure that they are in the best possible condition when released back into the wild. They are getting used to their surroundings and, as all children, are very playful and learning more every day.
In late fall the bears will go into hibernation, then in January or February they will be immobilized, have an examination and be released into dens in the high Sierra. Transport to the release site will by snowmobile or helicopter. So when they wake up in the spring they will be in their new home territory and on their way to becoming wild bears.
We have created the “Care4Bears” program to help raise funds for their care and housing, culminating in a raffle on November 1st . The winner of the raffle will enjoy dinner for four at the Lone Eagle Grill at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. We are grateful to the Hyatt for the donation of this fabulous prize. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the Animal Ark Visitor Center or online (put Care4Bears in the comment box).
A fun video of the bears can be seen HERE