Orphaned Bear Cub Captured in Verdi

Photo courtesy NDOW
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RENO, NV - An orphaned male bear cub in Verdi that had eluded the Nevada Department of Wildlife since Friday was captured early Sunday morning in Verdi, according to NDOW. The 30-pound black bear was caught in a culvert trap placed near the area where its mother and another cub were hit and killed by a car on the old Highway 40 near the intersection with Bridge Street in Verdi. The carcass of its dead mother was used as bait to lure the cub to the trap.

The “young-of-the-year” male bear was processed by NDOW Game Wardens Buck Tingle and Ian Knight Sunday morning and transported to the Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary north of Reno. The bear will be placed in an isolated area of the sanctuary where it will not become habituated to humans. In December it will be made to hibernate.

“We gave the cub a microchip and an ear tag, pink number 18, and placed it back into a large dog kennel for transport,” said warden Knight. “It is feisty and it quickly shook off the effects of the tranquilizer drug.” NDOW says given its young age, the bear would not have been able to survive the winter without wardens' intervention.

Early in 2014, while the cub is still hibernating, NDOW black bear biologist Carl Lackey will deliver it to an artificial den in the Sierra Nevada in late winter or early spring. If everything goes right, NDOW says the bear will emerge from its backcountry den next spring and begin its battle for survival as a wildland bear. “We have successfully done this with orphaned cubs a number of times in the past,” said Lackey.

The trap in Verdi is still in place but without the body of the female inside. “It is time to properly dispose of the bear,” said warden Tingle, “but we are hoping the remaining scent is enough to attract what might be a third cub to the trap.” Photos from a trail camera, put in place Friday, revealed what might be another cub which may have belonged to the dead female. “It is a long-shot but it is worth the try.” Reports in recent days from Verdi revealed the presence of two females with litters with one of those litters said to contain three cubs. The other female observed had twins.

“The success of this capture could not have occurred without the cooperation of the Verdi homeowner who is allowing our trap to remain in place,” said Tingle. “The residents of Verdi have been very supportive of our efforts to deal with these bears.”

The trap will be left in place overnight and will be checked early Monday morning, according to NDOW. If another cub is caught, the same process used on “Pink #18” will be followed.