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Three Florida Black Bear Cubs in a Tree

All three bears have been getting along well.

We recently received three orphaned black bear cubs to be rehabilitated at our Zoo. The bears, named by their Zoo animal care team Pickles, Ichabod and Hazel, were brought to us by our partners at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The goal is to eventually release this trio back into their natural habitat.  

FWC discovered Pickles alone in southwest Florida along a busy highway. Pickles was observed calling for his mom, but after a monitoring period with no mama bear in sight, the decision was made to collect him for his own safety. As for Ichabod and Hazel, they were taken in after their mom was hit by a car. Unfortunately, fatal car accidents are not an unusual occurrence, particularly in heavily trafficked locations. 

All three arrived in overall healthy condition. Unlike some of our other cases, none of the cubs were severely emaciated. Once they all drank some formula, they felt much better and explored the pool, dens, climbing structures and substrates around their temporary habitat. Pickles was introduced to Ichabod and Hazel upon their arrival, and they have been getting along great with plenty of zoomies to be had.  

By providing them with a dynamic space, we hope they’ll continue to gain the skills to be bears in their native range. Along with their milk replacer, they also receive rice cereal, soft fruits and puppy chow while they transition to solid food.  

Our animal care team is careful not to encourage any bear cubs to grow used to people. They enter the space wearing ghillie suits, a camouflaged clothing item, and typically coax the bears into a separate area when they service their habitat. Their food is also left in dishes instead of using a bottle.  

We expect Pickles, Ichabod and Hazel to be in our care for at least the next few months until they are big enough to be released into a forested area. 

These cubs, along with several previous, were brought to our Zoo for our advanced skills in caring for orphaned and ill black bear cubs. We will continue to lend our expertise in animal wellbeing and learn the best ways to care for these bears, increasing their chances of being returned to their native range where they play an important role in their ecosystem. 

Special thanks to Flammio Financial Group, Stifel-Garvin Wealth Management Group, Artemis IT, and Jim and Darleen Barfield. Their generosity makes our work possible! 

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.