Two Injured Black Bear Cubs Find Refuge in North Reno

Bear Cub 1The Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary & Nature Center, north of Reno, Nevada, will rehabilitate two injured black bear cubs rescued from the wild in late November. One of the orphaned cubs is a 46-pound male with a broken rear leg. The other is a 16-pound male, rescued by the Bear League, and is extremely malnourished, weighing nearly one third his normal weight and has frostbitten ears. Their recovery will depend on daily monitoring, isolation from humans and attentive veterinary care. The Animal Ark has successfully rehabilitated 13 bears for release back into the wild, and have worked with the Nevada Department of Wildlife on bear issues for the past 21 years.

“Rehabilitating these bears and still giving them a chance to be successfully released back into the wild is not easy,” says Carl Lackey, Nevada Department of Wildlife Black Bear Biologist. “Despite the high odds, Animal Ark has had many successes over the years in cases like these. Only time will tell if these bears can successfully be released successfully in the wild.”

“These cubs lack the survival skills and body weight necessary to make it through the winter,” said Aaron Hiibel, co-founder of the Animal Ark. “We will provide food and veterinary care for them for as long as they require it to get healthy.”

Bear Cub 2The cubs will be nursed back to health in an isolated enclosure at the facility. The Ark lacks the necessary funding to construct a wild black bear rehabilitation facility which would cost nearly $25,000. This enclosure would include dens, an exercise yard, a pond, and security from keepers to prevent the bears from becoming comfortable with human contact.

“A fully functioning rehabilitation facility would be ideal in this case, but we have had success rehabbing bears in the past with the tools and the enclosures at hand,” said Hiibel. “We are committed to nursing these cubs back to health for release back into the wild, but due to the extreme nature of their condition we might have to house them for five to eight months before they are healthy enough and have the proper survival skills to make it in the wild.”

Aside from a new rehabilitation enclosure, feeding and housing these cubs is a costly endeavor for the Ark. As a non-profit organization the Animal Ark depends on donors to support large projects such as this. If you are interested in donating funds please contact Animal Ark founders, Aaron or Diana Hiibel at (1-775) 970-3111, or mail donations to Animal Ark, P.O. Box 60057, Reno, NV 89506. You may also donate online at

About the Animal Ark Animal Ark is a 38-acre wildlife sanctuary and nature center founded in 1981. This facility’s rural setting provides an ideal place to house non-releasable wildlife and allows the public a unique opportunity to view these animals in natural habitat exhibits through glass viewing areas. In addition to the Nevada Department of Wildlife this organization partners with conservation organizations in Africa and is a member of the American Sanctuary Association.

– Diana Hiibel

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