ST. GEORGE — Two orphaned bear cubs were released back into the wild on a Southern Utah mountain range earlier this week, just in time to start hibernating for the winter.
The chubby black bear cubs had been busy gaining weight since early summer at a Utah State University rehabilitation facility in Millville, after they and several other cubs were found without their mothers in areas throughout Utah.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are unsure exactly why the cubs were initially orphaned.
“It’s likely they just lost their mothers,” DWR Outreach Manager Phil Tuttle said.
Once fattened up for the long winter, on Tuesday the bears were loaded into large, drum-like traps with sliding doors and driven to the Pavant Range south of Fillmore where they were released by DWR technicians high in the mountains.