HELENA – Grizzly bears are expanding in Montana and with that comes the chance of more orphaned cubs.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials recently found three orphaned grizzly cubs a new home at a zoo in Canada, 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," explained FWP’s Greg Lemon.
One reason that 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. We just don’t have enough to stimulate them intellectually, physically all those ways that they need," said FWP’s Lisa Rhodin.
The increasing grizzly populations mean more human interactions, so 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 to," 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. It can be done, but the responsibility for it lies with us not with the bear," Rhodin concluded.
Zoos are now more interested in taking in polar bears than grizzly bears.