LEAVENWORTH, Wash. - State Fish and Wildlife officials say they will not have to euthanize two 8-month-old Black Bear cubs after their mother was shot and killed last week in Leavenworth.
Rich Beausoleil, Bear and Cougar Specialist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the mother bear was probably attracted to the home on Icicle Road by the smell of birdseed and gardens.
The bear scuffled with a pitbull and was shot by the homeowner's grandson.
When Fish and Wildlife officials arrived the mother bear was lying dead in the front lawn and the cubs were on the front porch eating carrots.
Beausoleil says the two rehabilitation facilities the Department usually uses were full. If no space opened up the cubs would have been euthanized.
"We reached out to Fish and Wildlife in Idaho as a last ditch effort," says Beausoleil. "Luckily a faciltity has room. We'll be transporting the cubs early in the morning (Wednesday)."
The cubs will be staying at Snowdon in McCall, Idaho until they can be released back into the wild. At 8 months the cubs are still too young to surive on their own.
Fish and Wildlife Officials say its been an especially busy year in finding homes for orphaned cubs.
"Between road kills and people shooting bears it's been a problem," said Beausoleil.
Fish and Wildlife says 13 bears have been orphaned by humans in Washington State in 2010.
In Leavenworth, the homeowner who shot the bear will likely not be cited.
"It could have all been prevented," says Beausoleil. "People need to stop leaving food out as an attractant to bears, and they need to keep their pets under control."
Fish and Wildlife officers hope to introduce the cubs back into the wild next spring.
A bill drafted by Fish and Wildlife would make it a misdemeanor to feed any dangerous wild animal. They hope to get it before the legislature in January.