4 min read

Baby Bears Lose Their Mom Forever Because People Wanted A Selfie

"They are safe, but have been through a lot."

A black bear family in Montana was likely getting ready for winter when something awful happened. 

The family was walking along a highway near Harlowton when someone spotted them and decided to chase them for a picture

To get away, the mother bear went west β€” her cubs went east. The family was separated all because someone wanted to snap a photo.

"Please do not go looking for the cubs, take pictures or identify their location to other people," Nick Taylor, game warden for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), announced on Facebook on Sunday. "We need to come together to do what is best for these young bears."

Taylor noted that the cubs are still nursing and weigh only about 30 pounds β€” they really need their mom at this time in their lives. "The constant human disturbance to either the mother or cubs is prohibiting the bears from finding each other," he said.

Despite the best efforts of the local FWP, the cubs never saw their mom again. After not being able to locate the mother bear to reunite the family, the authorities decided to capture the two cubs on Monday and bring them to a wildlife rehabilitation center, Montana WILD.

"They are safe, but have been through a lot," Kris, a community outreach coordinator for Montana FWP and a volunteer at Montana WILD, told The Dodo. "What an adjustment to go from living with your mom in central Montana to being orphans in an unfamiliar place."

The bear cubs will be raised through the winter by the staff at the rehabilitation center, who will keep as much distance from them as possible so that the bears won't get accustomed to being around people. This way, they will likely be able to be released in the spring.

Sadly, they will never know what it's like to help their mom build their winter den where they can hibernate together.

"Our staff are giving them lots of food, water, space and time to calm down and adjust to their new surroundings," Kris said. "We aren't allowing anyone to get close enough to take pictures of them ... Such a hard lesson for people." 

You can help prevent other animals from going through this by sharing this lesson far and wide. You can also follow the important work of Montana WILD on Facebook.