Bear cub lost in Rite Aid will return to the wild

The cute bear cub found wandering the aisles of a Rite Aid on Oct. 19 will eventually be returned to the wild, according to officials at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

It was initially feared that the baby bear’s contact with humans would make a return to its natural habitat unlikely.

“Eventually, she should be released into the wild, if everything goes well, sometime next year,” Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for ODFW, told “She is being rehabilitated for the return to the wild.”

The female bear cub became something of a media sensation when she was caught on smartphone camera while scampering around the drug store in Ashland, Ore. Police caught the cub in a shopping basket before handing her over to ODFW officials on Oct. 20.

The cub was transferred to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynwood, Wash. the following day.

"As of this moment the bear cub is doing well, behaving like a normal 5-7 month old American Black Bear cub," wrote PAWS Spokeswoman Kellie Benz, in an email to "Our hope is that she'll continue to respond well."

PAWS, which specializes in bear rehabilitation, mimics natural conditions by feeding the animals the same diet they would forage for in the wild. The center also keeps human interaction to a minimum, ensuring that cubs do not become habituated to people.

ODFW plans to release the bear somewhere in southern Oregon in Spring 2015.

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