Illegally Kept Black Bear has a Permanent Home

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Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the illegally kept black bear removed in October from individuals in the Allegany area has a new home.

The female Oregon black bear will take up permanent residence at the Applegate Park and Zoo in Merced, CA. The facility is approved by the California Department of Fish and Game (CF&G), which regulates wildlife and captive native and exotic animals. The state recommended the Applegate Park and Zoo as a quality facility.

“We feel good taking the bear to the Applegate Park and Zoo,” said Ron Anglin, ODFW Wildlife Division administrator. “We needed to make sure the bear had the highest quality standard of care, and with our counterparts in California recommending this facility, it’s a good decision.”

Anglin added that, even though the bear is going to a quality facility, wildlife should still remain in the wild.

Oregon State Police removed the black bear in late October from Rocky and Jonathan Perkett, who had taken in the bear as a cub. It is illegal for Oregon residents to take or keep a wild game mammal without a permit.

The bear has been kept at a CF&G facility and cared for by the agency’s veterinarian. It was transported Wednesday to its new home.

The Applegate Park and Zoo is affiliated with the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and meets both ODFW and CF&G standards for holding black bears. CAZA is a non-profit organization that provides leadership and encourages high standards of all zoological facilities in California.

The Applegate Park and Zoo houses native wild animals which are all non-releasable, many having come from wildlife rescue centers. The zoo helps visitors learn about North America’s wildlife heritage.

Donna McDowell, the bear’s main caretaker, is happy to have the bear.

“She will be well-cared for,” McDowell said of the bear, whose diet typically will consist of dog food, a bear biscuit made especially for captive bears with vitamins and minerals, along with fresh fruit and vegetables. A zoological veterinarian will attend the bear’s medical and dental needs.

Paul Burgett, Coos County district attorney, praised ODFW for its efforts in finding a quality permanent home for the bear.

“I compliment ODFW for working so hard to find a good home for the bear,” Burgett said. “It’s been a complicated, difficult process to place a bear habituated to humans, and agency staff worked very hard at it for a long time.”

ODFW biologists continue advising Oregonians to leave baby wildlife in the wild.

“It’s not only illegal to take a game mammal out of the wild without a permit, but it hurts the animal in the long-run,” Anglin said. “The young animal doesn’t learn how to survive in the wild, and rehabilitation is not always successful. Placing the animal in an approved facility is often a lengthy and costly process – if such a facility can be found – and commits the animal to a life of captivity.”

Young animals often are left alone while the mother feeds. ODFW advises people to leave what might appear to be an orphaned animal where it is and call their local ODFW office.