ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A bear cub spent days roaming the streets of one New Mexico town. Wildlife experts say the underweight bear was searching the town for food. Now, the bear is getting the help she needs.
“She was really in and out and out again, people were getting pretty mad. It’s in my yard why don’t you get here and do something,” says Dr. Kathleen Ramsay.
Concerned citizens first reported the cub on Saturday. Officers with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish were able to track her down Sunday afternoon. “They were able to dart the cub and successfully transport it to Dr. Ramsey,” says Tristanna Bickford, Spokesperson for NMDGF.
The cub is now being housed at Cottonwood Rehab, a rehab center for wildlife. Dr. Kathleen Ramsay says the officers who captured her saved her life. “There’s no way in the world this bear would have lived,” Ramsay says.
“This was a young bear that would have not been capable of just being released into nature without its mother at this point we have no idea why its mother was not with it,” Bickford says.
Ramsay has named the year-old cub, Sweet Pea. When she was brought to the rehab center, she weighed just 25 pounds. Ramsay says a bear at this age should weigh closer to 65 pounds.
“That’s what this little bear cub was trying to do was trying to find things that would put calories on their body. And we have a lot of our nice fruit trees in our yard, a lot of apple orchards in the Española Valley and she was trying to stay alive on eating apples,” Ramsay says.
Ramsay says Sweet Pea will spend the winter at the rehab center since she’s not heavy enough to hibernate. They plan to release her back into the wild next spring, “She’s got a very good chance of going back into the wild and being a very important part of New Mexico’s future black bears,” Ramsay says.
Ramsay says they will feed Sweet Pea food she’s likely to find in the wild, so when she is ready for release, she will have an easy transition out of rehab. In their seven years of operation, Cottonwood has rehabbed more than 600 bears.