PAYSON, Ariz. – A Scottsdale animal sanctuary is caring for an injured bear cub that was found about 20 miles west of Payson.
Payson resident Christopher Morris was on his way home from a morning of fishing when he noticed something small, black and furry on the side of the highway, according to Kim Carr with the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.
Morris thought it was a dog that had been hit by a car. The animal wasn't moving so he thought it was dead.
"When he saw the little rounded ears, he realized it was a bear cub," Carr said.
Morris stopped his vehicle and went to move the animal off the road when he saw that it was still alive.
Carr said no mother bear was in sight so Morris put the cub in his car and called around the Payson area to get help but couldn't find anyone. He ended up driving the bear to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in a wire crate.
Veterinarians examined the cub and X-rays showed a fracture in its left front leg but no other injuries.
"That highway is so busy and the traffic goes so fast it's amazing that he didn't get killed," Carr said.
The bear weighs about 20 pounds and is approximately 4 months old.
Carr said bear cubs usually stay with their mothers until they are about 2 years old. It is uncertain whether the cub can be released back into the wild in the future.