'Very Scared' Orphaned Bear Cub Rescued After Mom Killed by Car

A terrified orphaned bear cub has been rescued after his mom and two siblings were killed in a car crash in Massachusetts.

Officers arrived at the scene of the crash on Saturday to find the three bears dead and the surviving cub seeking safety up a tree, the Greenfield Police Department said in a statement.

"Upon arrival, officers heard squealing and found a very scared third cub that was able to seek refuge and safety by climbing a tree," the police said.

Suspecting the danger the now orphaned cub would face on his own, officers put him in the back of the police vehicle and took him to the station, the statement said.

Bear cub
A bear cub was found seeking refuge up a tree. The terrified orphaned bear was rescued after his mom and two siblings were killed in a car crash in Massachusetts. Greenfield, Mass Police Department

Photos shared by the Greenfield Police Department show the orphaned cub hunched up in the back seat of the car following the rescue.

Bear cubs have been known to survive on their own from about five months old but before this age they are totally dependent on their mothers.

The Greenfield Police Department did not specify how old the orphaned bear cub was, however, female bears usually give birth to two or three cubs in mid-to-late January. The cubs usually remain with the mother for 17 months before going off on their own.

Once the cub was brought back to the station he was placed in a kennel to keep him safe overnight. Officers watched over the cub throughout the night while arrangements were made for him to be brought to a wildlife specialist.

The Greenfield Police Department later confirmed on Facebook that their "little buddy" had been taken in by the Tufts Wildlife Clinic, which tends to injured, native wildlife.

At this time there is no further information about how severe the car crash was. It is also unclear whether the bear cub had been injured.

Newsweek has approached the Greenfield Police Department for comment.

There are an estimated 4,500 black bears bears living all over the state of Massachusetts. The bears are increasing in numbers throughout forests and woodlands, very near to heavily populated areas. This means bears can occasionally wander onto roadways.

According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, about 30 to 40 bears are killed in car crashes every year. CBS reported in 2021 that between June 2018 and July 2020 there were 83 car collisions involving bears in the state.

Bears are typically most active around dusk and dawn, which is when most accidents tend to occur.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission suspects vehicle collisions involving bears have increased over the years because of several factors. These include higher bear populations as well as increased human populations and developments around their habitat. Traffic volume has also increased, and as forested areas become more disrupted, it becomes more common for bears to wander onto roads.