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Wildlife watcher saves life of bear cub

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about leaving young wildlife alone. Better than 95 percent of the time, this is the correct thing to do. However, there are rare times when the momma will leave their young.

Not long ago in Monroe County, a momma bear and her three cubs tried crossing a road. One of the cubs became separated due to traffic. A witness who saw what was happening from the start stated that the mother tried for nearly an hour to get this last cub to cross the road, but was not able to. She then took the other two cubs and moved on.

The witness checked on the cub for several hours to see if it was ever reunited with its family. In the meantime, other people had seen the cub and reported its location to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Once it was clear the mother was not going to return, the DNR Police recovered the cub and transported it to the Beckley Office, where wildlife biologists were waiting. Attempts to unite the cub with a surrogate family were not successful in the next few days. Wild animals are just not big on adopting orphaned or abandoned young.

A few days later in inclement weather, a different bear den was located. West Virginia bear biologist Colin Carpenter and wildlife biologist Mark Richardson were able to place the abandoned cub with a bear who had two cubs of her own. In this case, the procedure proved to be successful. All involved seem to agree the abandoned cub will survive in his new home.

Now, just because a cub has been spotted alone, does not mean that it is abandoned. In this situation, it’s many thanks to a concerned citizen who witnessed the complete event from start to finish, and the right decision was made.

The DNR advises everyone, if you see a cub or fawn by itself and anticipate a problem, call the DNR game biologists as soon as possible. To make a long story short, let the professionals do their job. Don’t attempt to do their job for them.

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On March 27, West Virginia Natural Resources Police Officer S. C. Haines was patrolling a dead end road in the Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area in Brooke County, officials said. This WMA is heavily posted, prohibiting the use of off-road vehicles. However, there are just some people who pay no attention to these signs. The unlawful use of such vehicles is a big problem in this WMA. When NRPO Haines was nearing the dead end, he observed two men riding dirt bikes and approaching the rear of his vehicle.

When the two approaching men realized they were coming upon a law-enforcement vehicle, they quickly turned and fled the area, officials said. Officer Haines made no attempt to bring them down. Instead, he went a little further up the road and stopped to get caught up on some paperwork.

Soon he heard the dirt bikes returning to the location where he first observed them. They had disregarded the signs prohibiting the use of this kind of vehicles and traveled to the top of a hillside in the WMA.

Haines came upon the two men at the top of the hill and ordered the leader to stop. The man attempted to flee, but his Yamaha got stuck in a large mud hole, officials said. NRPO Haines had to engage the suspect on the ground. The 29-year-old Pennsylvania man was taken into custody. It was soon discovered this individual has a lengthy criminal arrest record. Some of the arrests included receiving stolen property, motor vehicle theft, resisting arrest, retail theft, assault, disorderly conduct, illegal possession of drugs, driving under the influence, robbery and an accident involving death or personal injury.

Illegal use of off-road-type vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes, etc.) leads to property damage. Repeated use causes deep ruts and mud holes like the one this person’s dirt bike got stuck in. West Virginia’s Wildlife Management Areas, state forests, state parks and other government-owned lands (federal and state) are for everyone to lawfully use and enjoy. When sportsmen and women see something like this going on, it needs to be reported to the DNR as soon as possible.