MDWFP Black Bear Program rehomes abandoned cub

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Black Bear Program recently rescued and rehomed an abandoned black bear cub from the South Delta to a new den in Wilkinson County.

The cub was unexpectedly abandoned following a routine den check where MDWFP biologists conducted a workup on the first-time mother and cub. The young female (sow) was not expected to have cubs this year because of her age and her frequent movements over the last few months.

Following the den check, game camera footage and collar location data indicated the sow had left the tree den. Biologists monitored her location for a day and a half and she did not return.

Biologists were simultaneously monitoring a mature sow with cubs in Wilkinson County that they believed would be a good match for the abandoned cub. Because of imminent rainstorms and the sow not returning, biologists decided to go back to the den site to rescue the cub and relocate it to Wilkinson County.

Biologists proceeded with the planned den check on the Wilkinson County sow where they conducted workups on her three cubs and introduced the foster cub to the den. When agency staff left the site, the formerly abandoned cub was nursing the sow along with her new litter mates.

MDWFP has been conducting den checks since the start of the Black Bear Program in 2003. Den checks are routinely conducted each spring on collared sows to further research the Mississippi black bear population and evaluate reproductive success. During den checks, the sow is sedated while biologists measure, weigh, sex, and tag the cubs for future identification. Cub abandonment following a den check is very rare, with less than five other cases in the 21-year history of the program.

MDWFP is committed to the conservation of Mississippi’s native wildlife and is proud to have been able to safely rehome the abandoned cub.

The MDWFP Black Bear Program is continuing to make strides in its research to further understand our state’s black bear population, which would not be possible without private land partners and Mississippi State University.

Donations to MDWFP’s Black Bear Program can be made to the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply