DPS: 3 bear cubs found safe after mother killed in crash

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Authorities say three bear cubs were found safe after their mother was killed in a car crash along State Route 77 in southern Arizona.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, troopers responded to a car crash involving a bear on SR-77 at Dudleyville Monday morning.

When they arrived at the scene, troopers discovered a mother bear had been killed in the crash, but her three cubs were located nearby.

With the help of the Hayden Police Department and a good Samaritan, troopers loaded two of the cubs into a patrol car. The third cub was caught by an Arizona Game and Fish officer.

All three cubs were turned over to the game and fish department and were then taken to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale.

"They're actually in really good condition. Their weights are where they should be, they're eating good and that's always a good sign," James O'Brien said. "They've got some decent fat on them from when I handled them for a little bit yesterday, but their body condition feels good and when I put food in there, it took them about 30 seconds to realize it was edible because they've never had formula, yogurt and fruit."

Taking in black bear cubs is a first for the wildlife refuge center and although it's not unusual to see a mother tragically separated from her young, they're trying their best to make the cubs as comfortable as possible.

"This is all pretty stressful with any animal that comes in here, but we'll give them a little time to acclimate, we'll listen to their lungs and their heart and make sure everything is healthy on them," O'Brien said.

Hopefully after rehabbing the bears for a few months, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center says, the ultimate goal is to release the cubs back into the wild.