San Diego/ Parks & Nature
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Published on May 22, 2024
Orphaned Bear Siblings Return to the Wild After Specialized Care at San Diego Wildlife CenterSource: San Diego Humane Society

It was back to the wild for two orphaned California black bear siblings, who've tasted freedom after a nearly year-long stint at the San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center. According to a press release from the wildlife center, these furry brothers were all set loose in the San Bernardino National Forest on May 15, just a stone's throw from where their adventure began.

Hiking boots on the ground since July last year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) had their hands full after discovering the cubs' mother had passed away. At a tender age of five months, the bear cubs were rescued just in the nick of time: the first on July 4 and the second—barely keeping up—three days later. Once at the wildlife center, it was clear the siblings were stoked to reunite, according to the San Diego Humane Society.

The intervention was minimal, as wildlife rehab experts played a careful hide-and-seek game, ensuring the bears wouldn't get too chummy with humans. Mimicking Mother Nature, their enclosure was decked out with California live oak, pine, and an assortment of local plants. Their diet? A smorgasbord of fruits, veggies, nuts, and the occasional gourmet, like a 467-lb. pumpkin post-Halloween, was donated by an Escondido couple, per the Ramona Wildlife Center's spread.

Before their big send-off, the brothers were given a full medical checkup, fitted with snazzy GPS collars and microchipped for good measure. "It's a delicate skill to raise wild bears in captivity," Andy Blue, San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center campus director, pointed out. Their care included a diet of over 10 pounds of food daily and plenty of play without a trace of human scent, a testament to the center's thorough planning. Feeding these bears without being seen by them takes some serious ninja moves.

Project Wildlife, spearheaded by the San Diego Humane Society, acts as a beacon of hope for over 10,000 wild animals annually that are injured, orphaned, or ill, the organization says. Specialists at the Ramona Wildlife Center roll up their sleeves to care for apex predators and birds of prey with unparalleled dedication. For these two bears, their journey, which began with a twist of fate, has led to a second chance in the wilderness they call home. With the expert care they've received, the hope is that these siblings will not just survive but thrive in the wilds of California.