Some bears that were struggling are now back home in the wilderness of Vermont, after they were nursed to health.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said staff recently released several young black bears back into the wild after a stay with a wildlife rehabilitator in Lyme, New Hampshire.
Wardens said the animals had been orphaned, and were showing up in residential areas this spring looking malnourished and weak.
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The Fish & Wildlife Department said residents in the Plymouth area called their local warden, who was able to get the animals to Ben and Phoebe Kilham in Lyme to help nurse the orphans back to health.
In video provided to news outlets by the Fish & Wildlife Department, the bears appeared to be doing well as they re-entered their natural habitat in a large wildlife management area in the southern part of Vermont.
According to state bear biologist Forrest Hammond, the neighbors did exactly the right thing by calling in the pros, rather than trying to feed the animals themselves.
Hammond said bears who become accustomed to eating human food can become problem animals and develop a bad set of behaviors that prevent them from leading natural lives in the wild—and even risk the animals’ deaths.
“In most situations, animals do best when they remain in the wild,” Hammond noted in a news release. “However, in rare instances, we do come across an orphaned bear that trained wildlife professionals are able to help. We hope that these bears remain in the woods and continue to live as wild bears.”
Hammond urged Vermonters to remove potential attractants from their yards, such as bird feeders in the summer, to reduce the chances of wild bears becoming too accustomed to being around people or homes.