Recently Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks found three orphaned grizzly cubs a new home in the Quebec Zoo, but this outcome is increasingly harder to accomplish today.
“The challenge in taking in orphan grizzly cubs since we don’t rehabilitate them and release them back into the wild is that we have to find a placement for them and there is just not a lot of options,” FWP’s Greg Lemon said.
One reason FWP does not rehabilitate and release grizzly cubs back into the wild is their high intelligence.
“We don’t have the facility to keep them long term,” FWP’s Lisa Rhodin said. “We just don’t have enough to stimulate them intellectually, physically, all those ways that they need.”
With increasing grizzly populations and more human interactions, orphaned cubs will likely become a more common occurrence.
“The issues we have with placing cubs, with holding them very long, those are issues that are going to continue to be ones we will have to pay a lot of attention too,” Lemon said.
One lesson Montanans can take from these orphaned grizzly cubs is learning how to live with wildlife.
“Bears are here, both black bear and grizzly bear and it’s up to us to learn how to manage so we can live in harmony with them,” Rhodin said. “It can be done, but the responsibility for it lies with us not with the bear.”