Orphaned Black Bear Cub

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What does the future hold for this black bear cub?  Some call him Leo. This cute little bear  has adopted  this waste disposal site and surrounding area as his summer home. He has no trouble scaling the chain fence or crawling underneath to treat himself to what he considers to be a tasty feast.This disposal site services  mainly cottages and a few year round residences in beautiful  Muskoka located in Northen Ontario  In my opinion our cottage association should hire Leo to patrol the vicinity and make sure cottagers and their guests dispose of their refuse properly  and to ensure that they don’t co mingle garbage and recyclables.

I suspect that Leo is an orphan. After all what kind of parents would let their child meander along a busy road and eat garbage. Hunting, motor vehicle accidents and natural causes all contribute to bear mortality. But wait a minute maybe Leo, Isn’t orphaned. It is possible that he is abandoned. After Papa bear does his job of impregnating Mama bear, he meanders off and does not participate in rearing his  offspring. Apparently if he is hungry  he has no objection to eating a bear cub or other small animal.  According to some google research that I did, while grizzly mama bears are fiercely protective of their young and will risk their lives for them, this is not necessarily true of mama black bears. If a mother feels threatened she will sometimes keep running even if her babies are piteously squealing for her help. Mama bear will not typically attack an aggressor harming her offspring.

The breeding season is from May until early July. Implantation of the fertilized eggs is delayed until the start of the hibernation or the denning season. The fertilized ovum float free within the uterus for about six months. Bears must have sufficient body weight for the embryos to attach to the lining of the uterus and develop into bear babies. If the mother bear does not have enough body fat to sustain implantation and growth of her future cubs the embryos will simply be reabsorbed into her body.

The cubs are usually born in January while the mother is still hibernating. A litter typically consists of one to six cubs.  They are weaned at about six to eight weeks and then  stay with their mother. The following year they hibernate once again with their maternal parent snuggling together for warmth and protection. In the spring when the cubs are about seventeen months and when Mama is getting ready to mate again she shoos them away-perhaps to prevent infanticide or injury from a male bear jealous of the female’s attention to her children. Mama allows them to stay in specific areas of her territory which she then avoids. The cubs are given exclusive feeding rights there. Black bears are both omnivores and carnivorous, but prefer plants and berries over meat. The mother bear  seeks out adjacent territory to add to the family compound to accommodate her ever growing family. Her territory can  range from two and a half to ten square miles. Daughters stay close to home but sons voluntarily travel afar. Bears can live up to twenty five years.

Bears sometimes hibernate in caves, but usually burrow  into the ground to build dens. Mama does most of the work but the cubs help rake the leaves and twigs. The den is snug but allows a little extra space for movement.

So what is going to happen to Leo this winter?  Perhaps the cubs name should be Leora . I never got close enough to check to see if it is a male or a female.In any event this young bear may bunk in and den with a surrogate family or build his own den.

Sometimes a bear  may wake up in the winter or spring and be ravenously hungry. Sometimes well meaning individuals will put out an abundance of food for their consumption. This can be a death sentence for the bear . It can lead to cardiac arrest, similar to the phenomenon  that  killed multiple starving survivors after World War One.

We have invaded the space of our wildlife. How should we co exist with the back bears?Bears rarely attack although there have been isolated incidences. Black bears are as frightened of us a we are of them and prefer not to have any human contact. However we should exhibit caution. When travelling in their possible habitat it is good to travel in groups and  to make your presence known by singing or talking loudly. The bear will try to avoid you. It is also good to have a can of of pepper spray or bear spray with you in case of an aggressive encounter. If you do encounter a bear speak quietly and and back away slowly, preferably in the direction that you came from. Walk, don’t run and keep your eye on the bear to see its reaction. You will probably not have to use the spray.

Many many years ago my aunt and uncle were vacationing in the Rocky mountains of Alberta. It was a beautiful day and they decided to walk along a path and then stop for a picnic. My uncle was walking ahead of his wife. He looked behind him and saw a large black bear following them.Without raising his voice he directed his wife  not to look behind her and to drop the lunch basket. She did as she was told. After devouring their delicious picnic lunch the bear lumbered back into the wilds. My relatives returned  to the lodge hungry but with an interesting tale to tell.

Bears should not depend on people to be fed. They should learn what foods are available in their natural habitat and how to survive there. Wildlife societies exist  that care for and rehabilitate orphaned and injured bears  and release them  back into the wild.





About epsnider

E.P SNIDER is the pen name that I used to publish "WHY ME- a memoir". I used a pen name so as not to embarrass my spouse, my offspring, their offspring, my grand dogs and my friends. A dream came true when I had my first book published at the age of sixty-nine. "WHY ME? "is a collection of memoirs recounted from various stages of my life and the lives of those that I love or like at least some of the time. Most of the incidences are humorous-some are not. I am a senior but I feel more like a junior except for the aches and pains. When I look in the mirror I often see my mother or some other aging lady with wrinkles and sun spots. The amount and depth of wrinkling depends on which mirror I am looking into, the degree of lighting and how well my skin absorbed the moisturizing cream that day. Although I am mature in years, maturity is definitely not one of my virtues. If something strikes me as funny I get the giggles. Most of my family and many of our friends have a rather warped sense of humour-so I giggle a lot. Laughter plays an important role in our lives. My friends were a significant inspiration for me to begin my writing career. For the past number of years hubby and I have been spending part of the winter season in Florida to escape the sometimes bitter cold climate in Toronto Canada. Every year I send emails to those left behind. To my delight they find my emails to be hysterical and a cure for their winter doldrums. They compare my style of writing to that of the late Erma Bombeck. For those of you not familiar with the author-- she was a beloved American humorist in the 1970's and 1980's. I have loved literature and creative writing from an early age. I spent some of my growing up years in Alberta and won a prize for a best poem commemorating Alberta's bicentennial year. My grade seven teacher was a large and forceful woman, with white hair and course bristly white chin hairs to match. We were all intimidated by her and thus listened intently as she drilled us about parsing sentences and adverbs and adjectives. She provided me with a good basis of the English language. In addition to "Why Me" I have had a short essay published in a book of assorted memoirs by Canadian woman. I currently write for our Toronto Condominium newspaper. I hope to do more writing, although I am not sure if my family can cope with any more of my meltdowns when blocks of written material mysteriously disappear off of my computor. I admit I am computor and electronically challenged, but I will persevere. - - - - - - - - - - - Writing has been a passion of mine through out my life. Ever since I took a step forward and entered into the world of computers, a new world of opened up for me. I found myself engrossed in writing emails with lengthy updates about my life's recent highlights. To my delight, people found me...funny! I then offered to write for my condo newsletter, and I recently had a short memoir published. For the last several years I became glued to my computer, transferring my hand-written life adventure notes to an actual story of my life's defining moments. Finally, at the age of 69, I was done... I wrote a book! AND it's actually published. People are reading it. People are enjoying it. I am thrilled! Plus, it's one of the greatest gifts I could ever give my family. Talk about a dream come true. My advice to you: Think positive, keep your eye on the prize, and you too can enjoy as your dreams and desires come to fruition.
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2 Responses to Orphaned Black Bear Cub

  1. mycatgrady says:

    I love this story and was delighted to have all the ‘unknown to me’ information about the Bear and Family life. Well done Elaine…more please?


  2. epsnider says:

    much appreciated.i always look forward to your feedback. i hear you have some purple hair. Good for you and way to go.


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