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A Florida black bear cub.
This news should come to no surprise to Zoo fans: We’ve started providing temporary medical and nutritional care to
Florida black bear cubs in need in an effort to help them on their rehabilitation journey with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  

These little bears will not be visible in our Wild Florida loop with our other rescued bears Betty, Brody and Cheyenne. Instead, they’ll be housed in our behind-the-scenes L3 Harris Animal Care Center with minimal contact with people in an effort to keep their natural caution around people. Our veterinary team is able to provide care for more complex cases and our animal care team has experience with small cubs who may need supplemental feeding.  

The goal is to return these cubs back to their natural range.  

A bear cub receives an x-ray

A photo of the cub at her intake exam.

We recently cared for one such cub, a young female cub who was found without her mother in a waste facility in Okahumpkah, Florida. She was just 8 pounds. Typically, a bear her age – estimated to be about 6½ months old – is about 25-45 pounds. 

She was treated for pneumonia and fed well during her nearly 2 weeks with us – she nearly doubled her weight! We said goodbye to her recently as she moved to Homosassa Spring Wildlife State Park for rehabilitation with the goal to return her to her natural range. 

A bear cub receives an x-ray

A photo of the cub during her final exam. Look at that belly!

At Homosassa, park staff provide a home for orphaned bear cubs who cannot survive on their own in an off-habitat space while they are cared for with minimal human contact. The goal is to ensure the cubs will not be conditioned to seek out food from people. In December, the cubs are released in an area with ideal bear habitat but very few other bears to give them the best chance to survive. 

We’re hopeful that this little cub will successfully return back to her native habitat! We’re proud to use our expertise in caring for Florida black bears, especially cubs, to support this species in their natural range.

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.