THE BLOG

UnBEARable Stress

I've never encountered a stressor like this before. I have a summer house in a small community of 100 houses in the mountains of upstate NY. In that community a mother bear and its two baby cubs took up residence as of this spring of this year. Unfortunately the mother bear started breaking into houses in order to get food. We are all very careful to NEVER leave food or trash outside our houses, never to leave doors unlocked and never to leave windows open, but this mama bear started climbing in screened windows, breaking glass panes and even breaking down doors to get at food and trash cans.

I watched early one morning at 4AM (I awoke to a loud crashing sound) as this bear literally clawed her way through strong wooden lattice work, on my neighbors house to get at sealed trash cans that were stored inside. To make a long story short, once a bear starts breaking into houses, it is removed by the state and either relocated if possible or euthanized. This one was euthanized. This has left the two cubs motherless. 6 weeks later they are still roaming around our houses, innocently looking for food the way bears do, and causing no harm what-so-ever. Here's a couple of videos I shot of the two of them off my back deck.

Everyone in our neighborhood wants to help these little guys but nobody quite knows what to do about it. The word we got from the experts was that, if the cubs seem to be doing OK, then the best thing to do is to simply leave them be. And as you can see in this video they are full of energy, cute as buttons and seem to be foraging for food just the way bears are supposed to. However at this late date -- the end of August -- they seem to so small I can't imagine how they will survive through the winter. I have read online that mother bears stay with their cubs through the first winter.

Every time I see them, which is just about every other morning when they wander through on what appears to be a daily round I feel simultaneously adoring of these creatures and incredibly guilt stricken and stressed that our presence in their natural habitat has caused the survival of these adorable animals to be put in question. So I thought I'd use this month's blog as way of reaching out to anyone who knows what the right thing to do in this situation is? Can these tiny cubs survive the winter? Should they be captured and raised in some kind of shelter? Is there such a shelter? Please post comments in the comment field and let me know.