On September 8, a family of black bears were spotted calmly walking through the streets of Harlowton, Montana. Sadly they were not left alone to be admired from afar; someone decided to chase them to try and get a photo.
Panicked by the stress of being chased, the family ran in different directions – the mom went west while her 2 babies bolted east. This would be the last time the family would see each other – just because of one selfish person.
In a statement on Facebook, Nick Taylor, game warden for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), said:
Please do not go looking for the cubs, take pictures or identify their location to other people. We need to come together to do what is best for these young bears.
Despite the department's efforts to reunite the family, the mama bear wasn't found. The cubs were captured and taken to Montana WILD, a wildlife rehabilitation center. Kris, one of the center's volunteers, described their first few days there to The Dodo website:
They are safe, but have been through a lot. What an adjustment to go from living with your mom in central Montana to being orphans in an unfamiliar place. Our staff are giving them lots of food, water, space and time to calm down and adjust to their new surroundings. We aren't allowing anyone to get close enough to take pictures of them.
Source: Billings Gazette
Unfortunately, the young bears can't return to their home in the wild just yet. They are very young – too young to be away from their mom – and likely wouldn't survive the winter on their own. They will be cared for at the center, with very little human contact, so that they can be released in the early spring.
Although they are safe and will likely be able to live full lives in the wild, they will probably never see their mother again. Please think before you disturb an animal for any reason. A photo isn't worth the destruction of a wild family.
H/t: The Dodo
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