Orphaned Black Bear Cub Rescued in Lilliesville

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Communities / Feb. 9, 2017 11:18am EST

By Lisa Campbell


An orphaned bear cub, who had been eating from the apple trees in John Hubble’s yard for about three weeks, was recently captured and sent to the bear rehab facility in Lyme, N.H. (Herald / Lisa Campbell) An orphaned bear cub, who had been eating from the apple trees in John Hubble’s yard for about three weeks, was recently captured and sent to the bear rehab facility in Lyme, N.H. (Herald / Lisa Campbell) The Bethel village of Lilliesville has been host to “Cubby,” an orphaned/ abandoned black bear cub for the last three weeks.

The solitary cub has been residing in an apple tree, sleeping in the branches and dining on last year’s apples. The human residents of the village, while keeping their distance to avoid the cub becoming used to human contact, kept an eye over the 20-pound baby, concerned for its safety.

After being contacted by residents, representatives from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, including Warden Keith Gallant, came together this past weekend to stage a rescue operation. Obviously, a small cub on its own in the dead of winter, has a slim chance of survival, but with inclement weather imminent, the stakes for the solitary cub became more critical.

After a quick strategy session, one member of the team scaled the tree to retrieve the young animal. Using a catch pole, thick gloves, a net, and their considerable knowledge base, the team secured the cub, and prepared it for its journey to rehabilitator, Ben Kilham.

According to his website, benkilham.com, Kilham is New Hampshire’s only licensed bear rehabilitator. With over 20 years of experience, Kilham, with his sister Phoebe, raise orphaned and abandoned bear cubs for release into the wild. The website states that young bears are raised on his property with minimal human contact, and released at about 18 months of age, after being taught how to survive on their own.

For “Cubby,” the results from Sunday’s mission was the best of outcomes. The cub will reside in safety, with appropriate food and shelter, and a knowledgeable, licensed caretaker. It will be cared for with other cubs its age, and taught how to survive independently in the forests of New Hampshire.

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