A young brown bear cub was recently found near Platinum and turned into the Fish and Game office in Bethel. The bear was a tiny male, 9 pounds in all. It was reportedly being chased by some dogs so Jay Bitney picked him up to try to keep him safe. Bitney had been in the area for work, crushing gravel.
On June 3, he contacted the Alaska State Troopers about the bear and they sent out a wild life enforcement officer to the village.
Unfortunately, it was soon learned that the bear had to be euthanized. Bear cubs are not desired by most zoos, according to Phyllip Perry, area management biologist for the state. He found that out after checking with Fish and Game office in Juneau that works with zoos and other animal facilities for possible placements of wild animals.
“At that point we were told that there are not any zoos in the U.S. that are requesting a single brown bear cub that was a male,” Perry said.
Perry says that’s in part because it takes a lot of work and funding to keep a brown bear in captivity which can live up to 25 years old.
Even though this cub was just 9 pounds, he was born in the winter time in a den where he stayed with his mother until Spring. It is unknown what happened to his mother as she wasn’t seen in this case. Perry says in all cases, it’s best for people to play it safe if they ever do come across bear cubs or even baby moose this time of year, and ask the important question, “where’s mom?”
Perry says this time of year, she is usually close by.
“Mom is going to be very defensive, so most people’s instinct is, at that point, to back away,” Perry said. “You don’t want to run away but you want to slowly and deliberately leave the area.”