Northwest

Black bears rescued by Idaho nonprofit released in Washington

Idaho Black Bear Rehab took in eight cubs by fall, rescued from Washington wildfires. Six are pictured here.
Idaho Black Bear Rehab took in eight cubs by fall, rescued from Washington wildfires. Six are pictured here.

Through Monday eight black bear cubs will get returned to Washington forests after getting rescued from wildfires last summer.

Idaho Black Bear Rehab, in Garden City, took in the eight cubs by fall after fire scorched their Washington home. Three of those cubs were returned to Washington Saturday, in the forests around Spokane, said Valerie Stephan-LeBoeuf, education and outreach coordinator for the rehab.

Five more will be heading out Monday morning. They’ll get tranquilized, carefully measured, loaded up and released into the forests of the Olympic Peninsula.

The nonprofit rehab takes in bears that are cast out from their homes whether by fire or human-caused means. The bears they took in over the summer were all likely born in the spring of 2015, so have just hit their year-old mark. The rehab lets the bears get through their first hibernation so they can reach maturity and be ready to take on living in the wild independently, Stephan-LeBoeuf said.

“As long as they're released in a good habitat they have just as good a chance as any other bear out there,” she said.

The cubs have been tagged and tattooed and are ready to leave Monday morning, she said.

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner

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