Orphaned black bear cubs returned to the wild

Posted at 6:42 AM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 08:42:08-04

Near Harlowton, a happy ending – of sorts – for two black bear cubs who got separated from their mother last fall when some overly enthusiastic photographers spooked the mother bear away.

After spending the winter at the Wildlife Center at Montana Wild in Helena, the cubs were released back into the wild this week.

As state game wardens and wildlife biologists lifted the door on their portable cage, the two bears regained their freedom.

The yearlings were last seen climbing into a big pine tree in their native habitat.

The saga unfolded last September when the mother bear and her cubs were near Highway 191 when several people stopped to take their picture.

At some point, people chased after the fleeing bears and got between the mother and her cubs, with the cubs heading east across the highway while the mother ran west to avoid the people.

Later the sow and cubs were seen in different parts of Harlowton, but enough people interfered with the animals to keep them from reconnecting.

Eventually the mother left and FWP was not able to find her.

FWP tranquilized the two cubs and sent them to the Wildlife Center in Helena.

With the fall bear hunting season open, FWP game wardens were reluctant to release the tranquilized cubs into the wild.

FWP game warden Nick Taylor reminds people to keep their distance from all wildlife, not only for their own safety but also for the good of the animals.