Mind Situation Causes Bear Cubs to Change into Unusually Pleasant to People

A number of black bear cubs in California have exhibited unusually friendly, canine behavior towards humans, and scientists believe that a brain disease could be to blame.

Last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife picked up a bear cub from a backyard home. The animal had just moved in there and didn’t seem to be intimidated by humans at all. She took apples and ate them in front of the people on the terrace and at some point jumped into the open trunk of a housekeeper. This wasn’t normal behavior for a brown bear cub, but the most worrying thing was that veterinarians in California had seen it before …

Photo: Webidrole / Pixabay

In one case, a bear walked into a classroom several years ago and “sat in the back like a puppy,” Ann Bryant, executive director of the nonprofit Bear League, told CBS Sacramento. In 2019, a snowboarder filmed a bear cub getting unusually close on a sky slope, and animal experts say reports of such bizarre behavior can be traced back to 2014.

In all reported cases, the bear cubs exhibited a noticeable head tilt and walked strangely. Tests showed that the bears who exhibited this unusually friendly behavior towards humans all had encephalitis, or inflammation in the brain. Nobody knows what causes encephalitis, however; Five different viruses have been identified in the sick bears, but scientists have yet to prove that they are responsible for the encephalitis.

Reports of bizarre bear cubs have increased recently, and four such animals have been brought to the authorities in the last year alone. Cases are becoming “more common in the Tahoe Basin and elsewhere in California”.

Unfortunately, bear cubs who display this unusual kindness to humans, while adorable to most people, cannot survive in the wild and must be placed in the care of special facilities and zoos or euthanized.

“Right now there are just so many unknowns about it, but it’s out there, it happens,” said Ann Bryant.