Ten bears need bear necessities

January 11, 2008 3:19:47 PM PST
If you think your kids eat a lot, how'd you like to be making meals for ten hungry bear cubs? The bruin bear cubs are orphans and were brought to the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in Alexandria Township last summer.

Everyday they chow down on about 100 pounds of fruits, nuts, and dog food. Woodlands Wildlife Refuge's director, Tracey Leaver, compares the bears to teenage boys.

"They just keep eating and they just keep growing," Leaver said.

Woodlands is the only facility in the state licensed to work with bears and handling ten growing cubs at a time has put a strain on the refuge.

"We didn't have the housing to handle ten bears; we didn't have the budget to handle ten bears," Leaver said.

The cubs have been crowded in cages, but next week will move to a brand new, much larger enclosure.

"They'll be able to roam a lot, [and] spar with each other a lot more, which is their practice for becoming adults," Leaver said.

Before they were orphaned, the cubs all had about four or five months with their mothers. After exposing them to as little human contact as possible since, they'll be released back into the wild in the spring.

"As far as them knowing what to do? They're hardwired for survival. I'm proud to say we've released more than 25 out that have been successful in the wild," Leaver said.

Until the bears are released, the non-profit Woodland Wildlife Refuge is looking for donations and volunteers to help them provide the "bear" necessities.

You can contact them here: http://www.woodlandswildlife.org/