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'Shaken up and traumatized': Triplet cubs arrive at Manitoba rescue after mother killed by poacher

One of the male triplets is pictured during transport to Black Bear Rescue Manitoba on June 10, 2024. (Black Bear Rescue Manitoba/Facebook) One of the male triplets is pictured during transport to Black Bear Rescue Manitoba on June 10, 2024. (Black Bear Rescue Manitoba/Facebook)
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A Manitoba black bear rescue has taken in triplet cubs after their mother was shot and killed by a poacher.

Judy Stearns, owner of Black Bear Rescue Manitoba, said the two males and one female were found south of Swan River, Man. earlier this week. Their mother was shot and left on a nearby road.

People who live in the area saw the cubs, and were concerned for their wellbeing.

“(The cubs) apparently were with her when she was killed, and hung around her dead body for a while,” Stearns told CTV News Winnipeg in an interview Wednesday.

The residents contacted Manitoba conservation officers, who trapped the bears and arranged to transport them to Stearns.

The bears are still scared and confused as they settle into their new home, she said.

“It’s pretty evident to anyone who would see them that they're quite shaken up and traumatized by this, and they want to get out," she said.

“In their mind, they want to get back to their mother. They don't know that she's deceased.”

The lone female triplet is pictured during transport to Black Bear Rescue Manitoba on June 10, 2024. (Black Bear Rescue Manitoba/Facebook)

Stearns estimates the cubs are about five months old, as black bears are typically born in January.

They join 11 other bears at the non-profit, which cares for orphaned or abandoned cubs until they are large enough to be released back into the wild.

Stearns said this is more or less an average year for the rescue in terms of the number of cubs in its care. June is typically the rescue’s busiest month, she notes.

“We’re only halfway through June. We always say, ‘We hope we don't get more cubs,’ but if cubs are orphaned and need to come here, we want them to get here.”

Anyone who suspects a cub is orphaned or in need of help is encouraged to contact their district’s conservation office or the rescue’s tip line.

The public is also invited to follow along with their current residents’ progress, including the triplets, by visiting the rescue’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

One of the male triplets is shown exploring his new digs at Black Bear Rescue Manitoba on June 10, 2024. (Black Bear Rescue Manitoba/Facebook)

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