Two bear cubs get separated from mom by human interference

A mother black bear has been separated from her two still-nursing cubs because of the stupidity of humans, whose desire to get a photograph apparently outweighed the health and well-being of the animals.

The mother and her two cubs were seen walking on Highway 191 north of Harlowton, Montana, prompting the Wheatland County Sheriff's Office to issue a warning to residents to "Please DO NOT approach the bears, DO NOT feed them, and DO NOT try to scare them off."

Apparently not everybody got the message.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks game warden Nick Taylor told the Billings Gazette that people stopped to take pictures of the bears.

"At some point, people chased after the fleeing bears and got between the mother and her cubs," the Billings Gazette wrote. "The cubs ran east across the highway while the mother ran west to avoid the people."

The sow and the bear cubs were subsequently spotted separately in different areas of Harlowton, but "enough people interfered with the animals to keep them from reconnecting."

The FWP tranquilized the two bear cubs and held them for a day while officials attempted to relocate the mother so as to reunite the family. But when those attempts failed, the bear cubs were sent to the Wildlife Center of Montana at Montana Wild in Helena.

The rehabilitation center manager told the Billings Gazette that the bear cubs would be cared for through the winter and probably be released in the spring somewhere far from people in south-central Montana.

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