Two small black bear cubs were sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks rehabilitation center in Helena Tuesday after they were separated from their mother near Harlowton.
FWP game warden Nick Taylor said the cubs and their mother were near the north edge of Harlowton along Highway 191 over the weekend when people stopped to take their picture. At some point, people chased after the fleeing bears and got between the mother and her cubs. The cubs ran east across the highway while the mother ran west to avoid the people.
Later the sow and cubs were seen in different parts of Harlowton, Taylor said. But enough people interfered with the animals to keep them from reconnecting. Eventually the mother left and FWP was not able to find her.
FWP tranquilized the two cubs and held them for a day to try to locate their mother, Taylor said. When it became obvious that FWP could not reunite the cubs with their mother, they went to the Wildlife Center of Montana at Montana Wild in Helena.
With the fall bear hunting season open, Taylor said he was reluctant to release the tranquilized cubs into the wild.
Lisa Rhodin, manager of the rehabilitation center, said the cubs will be fed and cared for through the winter and most likely released next spring somewhere away from people in south central Montana, where they can be successful, wild black bears.
The cubs and their mother were separated and they could not be reunited as a direct result of human interference, Taylor said. He encouraged people to keep their distance from all wildlife, for their own safety and for the good of the animals.
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