Bear cubs found in Yreka "taken illegally from their mother"

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The 5-week-old cubs were rescued by wildlife officers beside Highway 96 in Yreka.

Posted: Mar. 18, 2019 12:58 PM
Updated: Mar. 18, 2019 1:23 PM

South Lake Tahoe (KTXL) -- Two bear cubs were found separated from their mother last Saturday and left beside a Northern California highway.

The 5-week-old cubs were rescued by wildlife officers beside Highway 96 in Yreka. The mother was nowhere in sight.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife believes someone is responsible for moving them.

One couple has been making sure the cubs are able to return to the wild and in the meantime, make sure they’re in safe and loving arms.

“They have big claws and big feet,” said Cheryl Millham.

The brother bear cubs, Blaze and Yreka, have been finding comfort at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care center with the Millhams.

“And then like a baby, they need to be burped,” said Tom Millham. “Our job is just to make sure they grow up big and healthy and strong and they can get released back into the wild so everyone can appreciate them.”

Officers believe someone illegally separated the cubs from their mother since they are unable to just wander off at such a young age.

“They scoot, but they don’t walk. They can’t,” Cheryl said.

Officers tried to find the cubs’ mother but didn’t have any luck.

“Something happened to mom but we’ll never know, we won't,” Cheryl stated.

Fish and Wildlife brought the brothers to the Millhams, who will care for the cubs over the next year.

“These bears are on a special formula. They’re getting special care,” Cheryl explained. "We know when to start pulling back to let them develop into wild bears. You have to be trained to do this."

For now, the cubs will stay in a crate and will be fed four times a day.

But soon, they’ll move to a larger habitat, where the cubs will have room to climb, play and learn to be more independent.

When they reach around 100 pounds, and they’re ready, the little guys will return home to the wild.

“We are the surrogate parents. We have to teach these guys what to look for and how to survive in the wild,” Cheryl said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is searching for whoever is responsible for separating the cubs from their mother. If you know anything, please call their tip line at 888-334-2258.

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