Emaciated Black Bear Cub Euthanized in Lander

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Photo credit: Lander Volunteer Fire Department

It’s always sad to report when an animal has to be put down because there are no other options.

That was the case on Saturday morning when Wyoming’s Game and Fish department was called to investigate a report of a black bear which was located up a tree in a residential area in Lander.

Game and Fish spokesperson Rebecca Fitzgerald said the biologist on site examined the animal and determined that the bear was in “very poor shape.”

“They did a visual examination and confirmed that the bear was emaciated and obviously had been separated way too early from its mother and would not survive the winter,” Fitzgerald said.

The decision to euthanize the bear was made because there were really no other options, she said, as the bear was in such a bad condition and the likelihood of placing the bear in a zoo or rehab facility was low.

“It’s really hard to place these smaller cubs with zoos especially when they are in poor condition,” she said.

“This cub was separated from its mother way too early,” she said. “It needed to be with its mother for at least another eight months.”

Fitzgerald said wildlife officials were aware of this cub and knew it had been born this year.

“So to be without its mother this early on was way too early,” she said.

She said black bear and grizzly cubs must spend significant time with their mothers — sometimes up to three years.

“It’s always really unfortunate when our job requires that we have to do this with wildlife,” she said. “Sometimes nature is cruel and things happen and we don’t know why. But we try to make the best ethical decisions we can.”

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