Biologists Capture Orphaned Black Bear Cubs in Galena

Three orphaned bear cubs are safely in captivity after being captured by state biologists over the weekend in Galena.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms says the biologists caught the black bears using baited live traps. 

“Friday evening about 8:30 they were able to capture two of the three cubs, knowing that if they hadn’t caught all three, the third one would be more difficult, and it was, it was very trap-shy,” she said. “So, they watched him Saturday and they tried on Saturday and finally on Sunday at 3:30 in the morning, they caught the third cub.”

Harms says the animals, who’s mother is suspected to have been illegally shot earlier this month, were flown to Fairbanks, and will be transported to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage today.

“We are still evaluating the application of a facility in Colorado who has requested them,” she said. “We are hopeful they will have a home; we won’t know for about another week or so.”

The bear cubs have been roaming around the village since their mother was killed, and had gotten food from people. Harms says the cubs, born this spring, turned out to be bigger than biologists initially thought.

“One of the cubs was close to 50 pounds; they were large for cubs of the year,” Harms said. “That meant they had been eating well. They would have had a slight chance of making it to be wild black bears and growing up, even without their mother because of their size, but once people started feeding them, we knew that even if they did survive, they would be approaching people for food and getting into things.”

“So, they became a nuisance and they had to be removed.”

Alaska Wildlife Troopers are investigating the killing of the cubs mother, which was reported September 13th.