We receive questions from many individuals who have bear questions or problems.  Recently, a woman in western NC wrote to tell us about a 3-legged sow bear with cubs that was roaming the neighborhood.  She was concerned about the bear’s disability  and the fact that she was becoming bold  – going up to houses, climbing on decks, and otherwise becoming a nuisance in the community.  Some of her neighbors were afraid of the bear, but many others had felt sorry for her.   The writer was concerned for their welfare and asked if ABR could help in some way.  This is the answer we sent to her:

 We certainly understand and sympathize with your feelings about your “neighborhood” bear and her current predicament.  Although a bear can adapt to the loss of a limb, her current need to provide for cubs escalates her problems.  You describe her as being much bolder and day-active recently.  This could be the result of her having been fed by someone in your area.  The fact that she is coming up on porches, as you described, would make us suspect that someone has definitely been feeding her, whether purposefully or inadvertently.  A bear that is fed by humans tends to become more confrontational (the hissing and bluff charging you mentioned), expecting handouts from people.  With cubs, she wants and needs more food than usual.  You may have noticed that blackberries and other soft mast foods are not yet ripe and unfortunately, due to our lack of rain, seem to be drying up on the vine before ripening.  This means she has had greater difficulty finding natural foods.  Of course, the sadder note is that if she is becoming or has become food conditioned, she is teaching that behavior to her cubs, as well. 

 Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do, since the NC Wildlife Commission will not relocate bears.  Here is a link to their information about black bears, including the question of relocation.  http://www.ncwildlife.org/Wildlife_Species_Con/WSC_Black_Bear_Preventing_Conflicts_Main.htm 

 As for our organization, Appalachian Bear Rescue is a TN based nonprofit, located in Townsend, TN.  We are licensed by TWRA, the TN Wildlife Resources Agency, and the laws in TN regarding black bears are quite different from those in NC.  Although we do accept orphaned cubs from other states, NC is not one of the states that asks us to rehabilitate their cubs.  At any rate, since these cubs are not orphans, we would not be able to admit them even if they were in TN.

If you have bear issues in your area, you should contact the wildlife resources agency in your state.  Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding bears and other wildlife.