Bear Cubs Rescued After Their Den Was Destroyed and Mother Abandoned Them

Black bear cubs abandoned by their mother after their den was destroyed have been rescued by wildlife authorities in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Fish and Game said that the bears were taken in after a homeowner accidentally destroyed a bear den on their property while clearing a pile of sticks away. Images posted to Facebook by NH Fish and Game showed an officer smiling as held the three bear cubs.

NH Fish and Game said that the cubs would be transferred to a specialist rehabilitation center that is based in Lyme: "Earlier today a homeowner who was removing a large brush pile from their property inadvertently destroyed a bear den," the Facebook post said.

"The mother ran off unharmed but left three cubs behind. CO Shawn MacFadzen was able to secure the three cubs and a decision was made that they would be brought to the Kilham Bear Center by a Fish and Game Dept. Biologist."

NH Fish and Game with black bears
A NH Fish and Game officer with three adopted black bear cubs. The animals were taken in by the wildlife authority after their mother's den was unintentionally destroyed. NH Fish and Game/Facebook

Black bears typically enter winter dens between November and March, but females who give birth during this time can stay longer. Two or three cubs are typically born in late January or early February and they are nursed by the mother for several months.

Black bears have a highly acute sense of smell that can attract them to urban areas in search of food, such as the waste left behind in trash cans. NH Fish and Game advises all bird feeders are taken down in the state between April and December when the bears are most active.

The state wildlife authority also advises keeping garbage cans secured and avoiding keeping pet food outside to help minimize human and bear interactions.

Corynn Marrotte commented on the NH Fish and Game Facebook post, saying her father was the one who found the bear cubs: "My dad does construction and while working on a lot this morning he and his contractors spooked a mom out of her den," she said. "They were not aware of the den, and later discovered three cubs in the den. The den was very small and deep, unable to be seen unless looking for it.

"It was decided that fish and game would come take the cubs as it being the dead of winter it is unlikely for the mother to find them a new den. Sending them to rehab so grow is the best choice for them. Thank you!"

American black bears are the only species of bear found in New Hampshire They are omnivorous, with their diet up to 95 percent plant-based. There are an estimated 4,800 to 5,000 black bears in the state. It is a medium-sized species, weighing up to 600 pounds.

The Kilham Bear Center, where the bears will be transferred, said it works directly with NH Fish and Game to rehabilitate orphaned and abandoned bears in the state. The center said it has released 350 black bears back into the wild since it was founded in 1993.