Heavenly the bear avoids death, finds home at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - A Scottsdale sanctuary has a new family member after it saved an orphaned black bear that was found a California ski resort in March.

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center welcomed the young cub, Heavenly, to their bear enclosure that contains three other bears after authorities either had to euthanize or find him a forever home.

Heavenly was found wandering the ski slopes of the Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California. The 14-month-old cub appeared weak and was bleeding from the shoulder so authorities darted the animal and brought it down the mountain.

Authorities believe the bear was an orphan cub who didn't have the skills to feed himself or go into hibernation.

Heavenly, weighing half the weight he should at only 49 pounds, was taken to a local vet to be treated. He was x-rayed, which showed no broken bones, and was given antibiotics for his shoulder injuries.

The bear was eventually released 25 miles south of where he was found, but within a week he returned to the slopes he was first found on.

After he re-appeared, authorities decided he was a danger since he had come to expect food from people after his recovery, although he was never aggressive or threatening.

Heavenly would not be given another chance at freedom so authorities either had to euthanize him or find him a home. That's when Southwest Wildlife stepped in.

The Scottsdale based sanctuary offered Heavenly a permanent home after hearing his story through the American Sanctuary Association.

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is building a temporary space for Heavenly where he will meet Griz, Tahoe and Igasho, three young black bears that already live there.

The non-profit Scottsdale sanctuary is working to expand the bear enclosure but needs to raise money to do so.

To donate to Southwest Wildlife or to reserve a sanctuary tour, go to their website or call 480-471-9109.

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