With all the black bear sightings in southeastern Manitoba this spring, Black Bear Rescue Manitoba says they already have 3 young cubs in their care. The organization is the only black bear rehabilitation center in Manitoba, which means that any orphaned cub in our province goes to their facility.  

Judy Stearns says they quite frequently get phone calls from the southeast. She calls it “a bit of a hot spot for us to pick up cubs from.”  

That said, spring 2022 has been different from past years. Stearns says things at the Rescue Centre have been kind of quiet but for a reason, not many would have guessed.  

“We have had far fewer phone calls about black bear sightings this year. We believe the black bear population has gone down this year because last year was such a poor food year for bears in so many areas of the province due to the drought and forest fires. Also, there was a failure of the berry crop in some places, so that's why we haven't had very many cubs yet this year.”  

Stearns continues, “We only got our first cub just last week and we now, have three Cubs! In the past, we usually receive cubs anywhere from January to April. We figure the reason is that there are fewer cubs being born this year because last year was a poor food year and therefore the females wouldn't have had sustainable pregnancies. So yeah, I'm quite surprised to hear about the bear sighting in southeastern Manitoba. We ourselves have not been receiving nearly as many phone calls this year.” 

Black Bear cup received at their rescue facility This tiny girl found herself in need of help and arrived at our facility on June 12 (Photo credit: Black Bear Rescue Manitoba) 

She is from Bloodvein, MB and the fate of her mother is not known. (Update; we have found out that her mother was hit by a vehicle unfortunately). Covered in ticks and weighing only 6.8 lbs we are glad to be able to help her. Thank you to Conservation Officer “Jeff” for catching and getting her to us. (Facebook)

That said, Stearns reminds us of what we can do when we do see a mother bear and her cubs.  


  1. NEVER APPROACH THEM. You don't want to stress her out. She might be frightened and run away, possibly abandoning her cubs. We have that happen sometimes, it would have to be something very disturbing, like large equipment or something that she wouldn't come back for her cubs, but you just want to give her space. She could just be passing by and just going about her business so there's no cause for alarm and you just need to let her go on her way.  

  1. DON’T ATTRACT THEM TO YOUR YARD The only time you might want to shoo her away is when she's coming into your yard to find your bird feeder. Please take it down between April 1st to mid-November. Birds don't need help finding food in the summer.  

  1. DON’T FEED WILDLIFE. Bears can quickly learn the food source and soon won’t be afraid of people. They’ll come a little closer to your home each day until they end up right on the porch. They don't mean any harm, but their number one priority is finding food.  

  1. CLEAN UP YOUR YARD. Don’t leave BBQ lids open. Empty the grease trap. Hide the garbage cans. If you have an outside dog, don’t leave their food dish full of food.  

  1. MAKE LOUD NOISES. Bang on the window or bang your door closed. Yell. Wave your arms if you're out in the yard and you see them at a distance. You want to scare them away. You don't want to be killing them with kindness because in the end, it's going to be the bear that loses out when you start feeding them. 


  1. KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE AWAY. Stay inside your home or vehicle. If you have any concerns that a cub may be orphaned, you could monitor it from a distance for a while and just watch it. If the Cub is playing in the ditch or eating, perhaps its mother is nearby, you don’t want to get in between a bear and its cub.  

  1. IF THERE IS STILL NO MOTHER BEAR AFTER A FEW HOURS, and you’re concerned about its safety, that it’s in an unsafe location, you are asked to call Black Bear Rescue Manitoba. They will help with the situation.  

  1. TAKE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS of the cub. This will help in assessing whether the cub needs to be rescued or what’s best for the cub. 

  1. IS IT A CUB OR A YEARLING? Black Bear Rescue will help you determine whether the young animal is a cub without a mom, or a yearling whose mother has kicked it out of the den. If it is a yearling, they don’t need help. They’re supposed to be on their own.  


Twin black bear brothers are the first cubs brought to the BBRM facility in 2022.June 8, 2022 Our 1st cubs of the season have arrived! (It’s of course bittersweet….sad they have lost their mom but glad to be here for them). (Photo credit: Judy Stearns) 

These 2 little brothers (Otto and Oswald) weighing 7.6 lbs and 10 lbs are from the Cranberry Portage, MB area and the fate of their mother is unknown. We believe due to their small size they may have been born in Feb, a bit later than more southernly bears, and are 4 months old.
They have plenty of zip…..probably the most feisty cubs right from the get-go that we have ever received! They’re just settling in but have good appetites and got a clean bill of health from our vet. (Black Bear Rescue Manitoba Facebook page)



Judy Stearns says, “We're basically replacing their mother and their mother care."  

We feed and shelter and keep them safe.  

We make sure that they get to grow and develop as naturally as possible according to what they would be doing in the wild at the time. 

We make sure they have other cubs to interact with.  

We make sure they get to be bears when they're here and have a natural summer. 

We shelter them until they're large enough to be released back to the wild. 

Stearns says, "Black Bear Rescue is Manitoba’s first and only shelter for orphaned black bear cubs and we’re a registered charity running strictly on donations. We receive no government funding. And are staffed by volunteers. It truly is a labour of love. But cubs are not inexpensive to raise, costing about $2,000 each, so we do need to ask for your help if we’re to continue providing a safe haven for needy cubs.