August 17, 2010 (Alpine) – Liberty, a yearling black bear brought to Lions Tigers & Bears (LTB) rescue facility in Alpine on July 4th, was examined by veterinarian Dr. Jane Meier and LTB owner Bobbi Brink last week and positively identified as a female.
Fish & Game officials brought the bear to LTB in hopes of savings its life. The animal was causing problems at a Mt. Baldy campground in San Bernadino, where six to 12 young bears are killed each year. But LTB may only be a temporary haven for Liberty, who will soon outgrow her temporary home and require a much larger and secure habitat. Brink urgently seeks donations to construct an expanded enclosure.
Liberty is about 18 months old and tips the scales at 70 pounds. An adult female black bear can weigh as much as 235 pounds.
Every year, as yearlings leave their mothers, many wander into campgrounds where their chances of survival are doomed. When bears associate food with humans, the results are often deadly, even when visitors and campers don't feed the animals, as was the case in a tragic attack by a grizzly on campers in a Montana campground near Yellowstone recently. At this point, Fish & Game is called in, but the bears usually cannot be relocated or rehabilitated,
"A fed bear is a dead bear," says Fish & Game Agent Kevin Brennan, urging the public to use restraint. "Enjoy seeing the bears, take a picture, but please don't interact with them or feed them."
Liberty’s examination, done under sedation, included taking blood and urine samples and examining Liberty's teeth. "This young bear is in extremely good health", said Dr. Meier, who estimated the bear to be one year old, adding that black bears typically live twenty years or more in captivity. Miss Liberty also received a microchip and had her claws clipped.
Future plans at LTB rescue also call for a Native Species Conservation Station, where rescued bears, mountain lions and other Californian wildlife can live and serve as ambassadors to teach residents about our living wildlife heritage. Part of that plan includes a rehabilitation center, with the ultimate goal of releasing back into the wild as many bears as possible.