SONOMA COUNTY, Mich. – The devastating Caldor Fire forced a lot of Northern California residents out of their homes, including three black bear cubs who have not found a temporary home in Sonoma County.
The three cubs were evacuated from the Caldor Fire to Petaluma but it may be a while before they get to return home. The three orphaned clubs, a young brother and sister, and an older female were all found wandering without their mothers in the fire zone. They were sent to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, a 15-acre shelter that is one of three in the state licensed to take bears.
The rescue doesn’t want the cubs to become familiar with humans so they keep people away from them as often as they can.
“These animals require a tremendous amount of seclusion and privacy. We don’t want them to be accustomed to people and get comfortable and lose their fear of people. These are all really important criteria for them to go back to the wild,” Wildlife Rescue Executive Director Doris Duncan said.
The brother and sister pair played hide and seek and the older female played with a hanging branch nearby.
“She wants to be part of their group, but they haven’t let her in yet, so she just gets closer and closer and they watch her,” Duncan said.
Duncan said they will eventually become comfortable with each other. The cubs are destined to be released, likely in mid-Spring, when they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Staff is working to keep them wild, but the shelter has only been licensed for a year and a half and was surprised when the wildfires sent them so many bears so soon.
“We need to be more prepared when the bears come. They need a much larger facility,” Duncan said.
They are asking for about $250,000 to build a fenced enclosure roughly six times the size of the current one. That will allow the bears to roam and forage and become prepared for the outside world.
The nonprofit shelter operates on land provided to them by Sonoma County. If you want to contribute to the new bear enclosure project you can find more information by clicking here.