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Bears in a bare tree

Seven black bears at Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Center are perched in a bare tree in their pen. The young bears were found as cubs this year and need to grow larger before being released.

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Seven black bears at Wild and Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Center are perched in a bare tree in a 1.25-acre pen on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. The Garrison-based nonprofit is one of the only facilities in Minnesota that is licensed to handle black bears. These young bears were found as cubs this year and need to gain weight before they can be released back into the wild. Bears need to weigh between 40 to 50 pounds to survive hibernation, according to officials. Last year, the nonprofit had 24 bears at its facility. Officials are anticipating the center will receive many more underweight yearlings this fall due to the extreme drought earlier this year and lack of available food, so Wild and Free wants to raise money during the Give to the Max Day on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, to build another 1.25-acre pen. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
I was raised on a farm in western Minnesota where I participated in 4-H, high school sports, and everything that farm kids do for fun after chores. Graduated from Ridgewater Community College with an AA degree and my first taste of newspapering. I worked a summer on the Ortonville Independent as a reporter and photographer.
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