By Tom Batter, Wildlife Investigations Lab Scientific Aid
How near to good is what is wild!
– Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 1862
Two bear cubs stop to look back after they are released. (Photo credit: Jamie Sherman)
The Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) is pleased to announce the rehabilitation and release of three black bear cubs. Each cub was found orphaned in Southern California and brought to either the WIL care facility or to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) for rehabilitation.
The three–one male and two females–eventually became united at the WIL care facility in Rancho Cordova. The two females were transferred from LTWC so all three bears could become familiar with one another and be released simultaneously. WIL staff cared for the bears everyday, cleaning the pens and hiding food in trees and logs to get them used to “searching” for food.
Three bears in their temporary pen at the WIL. We brought in trees and logs to help get them used to foliage they will encounter in their natural habitat. (Photo credit: CDFW WIL)
WIL staff also took precautionary measures so that upon release the bears would retain their natural avoidance behavior of humans. We attached visual barriers to the perimeter of the pens, installed a trail camera in the pen for monitoring the bears, and limited the number of caregivers to a select few, minimizing human-bear interaction. This will give them a greater chance of survival.
They were pleased to be climbing trees again. (Photo credit: J. Sherman)
Prior to their release, the bears had ear tag radio transmitters attached to each of them. The transmitters have a range of 3-5 miles and can be detected from either the ground or from an airplane. These bears will be monitored continuously to gain knowledge on habitat use, dispersal distances, and reproduction (among other data) post-release.
The bears were released together back into their native home range in Southern California. Special thanks to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care for their hard work and dedication to black bear rehab, as well as Lieutenant Martin Wall, Senior Environmental Scientist Rick Mayfield, Wildlife Environmental Scientist Rebecca Barboza, Capture Specialist Tim Glenner, Scientific Aid David Mollel, and Scientific Aid Jamie Sherman for their assistance with the release.
One of the bears scrambles into its’ new stomping grounds. (Photo credit: J. Sherman)