Bear cubs found in Oregon arrive at rehabilitation facility in Washington

A bear found by a Salem hiker is fed at a rehab center. Photo courtesy ODFW

SALEM, Ore. – The injured bear cub found Sunday on the Santiam River Trail outside Salem was sent to a wildlife rehabilitation facility Friday to continue its growth, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Corey Hancock, the man who found the bear, said he contacted the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center and took the cub in Monday morning.

Hancock said he spotted the bear about two miles down the trail. He said the cub was barely breathing and he didn’t see its mother in the area.

"If you see a dying animal on his last breath, are you just going to let it die and walk away?" Hancock said.

According of ODFW, a second, female, bear cub arrived at the Corvallis office on Thursday, March 30, after its den near Myrtle Creek was disturbed by a brush-clearing operation. They believe the mother bear abandoned the cub due to the continuing disturbance.

ODFW says the two cubs are between three and four months old.

The male cub found near Salem was treated for mild pneumonia by ODFW veterinarian Julia Burco and other staff. They worked with Oregon State University School of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate the cub.

Friday, both cubs arrived at PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynwood, Wash. The facility provides specialized care for young bears, without habituating them to humans. This will allow them to return 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,” Colin Gillin, ODFW state wildlife veterinarian said. “And they’ll be between 100 and 150 pounds at the time of release.”

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

Troopers gave Hancock a stern warning for picking up the cub on Sunday.

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 captivity without a permit is against state law, as is transporting animals.

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.


• 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.

• Bring your pets indoors. Cats are a major cause of injury and death for all birds, killing millions of birds in the US annually.

• Be careful when pruning trees as there may be a bird nest in the branch. Prune trees during winter or in late Spring or Summer when fledgling birds have left the nest.

• Avoid disturbing cavity nesters. Barn owls and other birds could be nesting in hollowed-out trees or logs and in haystacks. Again, void disturbing the structure during nesting season.

• What if a bird flies into a window and appears hurt? Birds can become disoriented by reflective surfaces and mistakenly fly into windows. If you find a bird that has been injured by a window strike, place the bird in an uncovered box with a towel on the bottom. Keep it in a quiet, safe place away from pets and check back in a couple of hours to see if has recovered and flown away. If not, contact a local ODFW office or your local wildlife rehabilitator.


• Let turtles cross the road. Oregon has 2 species of water turtles (Western Pond and Western Painted) that spend most of their lives in ponds and rivers. In May and June, female turtles begin searching for suitable nesting habitat to lay their eggs and may be observed moving across roads and trails in search of a place to lay their eggs. If you observe a turtle looking for a nest site, the best thing to do is leave it alone and let it continue on its path or at most move it out of harm’s way so it won’t be struck by a vehicle.

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