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After 10 months with Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary… Rescued black bears are returned home to the wild

Over the summer, The County Record shared the story of two black bears who were rescued back in February during a wildfire along the Aucilla River. A forestry worker found the cubs just five feet in front of his tractor while he was fighting a wildfire. The bears were brought to Betsy Knight at the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary based in Calhoun County. One weighed two pounds and the other just two and half.

Back when the bears were small and starting to crawl.

For the past eight months, Betsy and volunteers have cared for these precious cubs and they thrived. This past Friday, the time came for them to be released back into the wild. One of the bears is now up to 129 pounds, while the other who was originally the smallest, is now at 140 pounds. The bears were returned to an undisclosed location near where they were found. And the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary now awaits the next arrivals! “Volunteers at the Sanctuary would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful folks who gave donations or who brought food for them to eat,” says Betsy. “It takes a tremendous amount of food to raise a bear! All the berries, apples, pears, grapes, garbage bags full of oak leaves and acorns, palmetto berries, heart of palmetto, persimmons, dates, and all the other fruit and other foods were eaten with relish.” The Sanctuary still needs your help in caring for the bald eagles on site. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. A used golf cart or ATV is also needed to make the feeding rounds on the extensive Sanctuary property. Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to: Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary, 9287 Felix Flanders Road, Altha, FL 32421.

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