SAN DIEGO – Four orphaned bear cubs were returned to the wild after being treated by the San Diego Humane Society.

According to a press release, three of the four cubs were rescued in September 2021 after a sow, believed to be their mother, was found killed in Mariposa County. The triplet sisters were approximately seven months old when they were rescued. Another bear cub, a male, was discovered in August 2021 when he was found with burned paws during the Dixie Fire.

The three female bears were released in Mariposa County while the male bear was released in Plumas County.

While at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center, the bears were given minimal interaction with humans and were put in outdoor enclosures to best prepare them for the return to the wild. Officials say the outdoor exposure while at the Ramona Wildlife Center, as well as the interaction with the other cubs, helped the bears to develop their natural instincts to survive in the wild.

Before being released back into nature, the bears were each fitted with radio collars so that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife can ensure their safety.

“This is the day we have been hoping for, the day that our team has been working so hard for,” said Andy Blue, campus director of San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center. “It is always our goal to return a wild animal to their natural habitat and to see that these four bears get a second chance where they belong, is extremely rewarding.”