Baby Bear Behind Bars: Why Was a Cub in Police Custody?

Why did a 12-pound black bear cub spent the night at a local jail? Did it disrupt a family’s picnic? Did it rob a bank? Did its little bear arms bear arms in an illegal fashion?

No, this poor cub’s only crime is being cute and abandoned. A Myrtle Creek, Oregon teen found the tiny bear crying in some bushes near his house. With no larger bear in sight, the teenager coaxed the bear into a storage bin with the help of his parents and brought him to the police station for assistance.

Police kept the bear in their custody overnight – Myrtle Creek Police Chief Don Brown said that the cub was “very well behaved” during his stay at the station — and began the hunt for his mother the following a day. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife utilized a noise device that imitates a baby bear’s distress call in the hopes of locating the mother, though thier efforts were unsuccessful.

Bear hunting season began in the area in April, but hunters are not permitted to shoot bears accompanied by young cubs. There have been no reports of dead bears – be they victims of hunting, automobile collisions, or other causes – in the area in recent history.

Fortunately, the cub is in fairly good condition aside from being underweight for its age. A veterinary checkup confirmed that there is no reason why this cub can’t grow up into a happy, healthy adult once he has regular access to food.

Since the mother cannot be located and the bear is too young to be set back in the woods on its own, officials believe the best move is to have the bear live at a zoo where it can receive proper care and nourishment. Monday night was probably the bear’s first and only night in jail, unless you consider a zoo a form of prison in itself… but that’s an argument for another article.

For the record, authorities do not recommend being as proactive as the teenager was in collecting the bear. If the mother had been lurking nearby and saw a human approach her child, she likely would have attacked. At up to 300 pounds, a pissed off mama black bear cannot exactly be reasoned with. In potentially dangerous scenarios, call wildlife authorities when an animal is in need. Care2 has previously published some great advice about keeping both humans and bears safe when the two species inevitably cross paths.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

Awwww... poor little guy! I'm sorry he lost his Mama! I sure hope he can be returned to the wild, or at least a sanctuary instead of staying at a zoo!

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

Diane L: "hunters DO care.. about abiding by the law".. of course, criminals never want to spend their time in jails.. where they should be. If they can murder with impunity and stay out of jails, that would be precisely what those murdering scumbags want. I'd enthusiastically vote for a law for hunter hunting season in that same short "hunting season".. I pray that would happen, where the hunters are mowed down in the woods by devout defenders of bears. Don't worry, that would be acceptable and called "circle of life" (one of the favorite excuses of those stinky two legged hairless mutations.. the ultimate cowards with high powered weapons that murder more evolved animals that have no way to defend themselves against the curse called humanity).

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

Please help this cub to live out in the wilds where he deserves to be. There are places that help animals do that.

john g.
john g3 years ago

why in this day and age do these woodchucks in our society have to kill bears or other animals is beyond comprehension..Bears don't have to be pets, but they don't have to be killed either.. Ignorance still prevails!

Mary B.
Mary B3 years ago

I don't like bear hunting, especially with dogs, any more than most, but to insist that all hunters fit some lawless, cruel stereotype is wrong and false, as in 'tho shalt not bare false witness". If you want a decent, trustworthy culture, then be a decent credible person. Simple formula.

Diane L.
Diane L3 years ago

Jennifer, you are partially correct, but also partially wrong. Hunters DO care, at least most of them, about abiding by the law, and one must have a "bear tag" (license) to hunt bear, at least in my state. Black Bears are protected at all times of the year EXCEPT for a short "hunting season" and at no time, is a sow with cubs legal to shoot.

There are only so many "sanctuaries", so a zoo is the next best thing and most have the space and expertise to take care of a cub this young.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

First of all, hunters don't care if a bear has a cub. They will kill what they want when they want. Second, a zoo is what they decided would be the best for him? What about the possibility of rehab or sanctuary? He has just been tossed from one horrible scenario to another. What another mess humans created. Thirdly, why is April bear hunting month? Bears are out with their cubs at that time - there should never be a bear hunting month. Poor mama, poor baby. No winning here.

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga3 years ago

hope the babybear will be alright

BJ J3 years ago

Earthfire Wildlife Sanctuary in Idaho might be able to take him. They have quite an assortment of wildlife.