Region 8 Couple Raises Black Bears - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Hardy, AR - Shannon Johnson Reports

Region 8 Couple Raises Black Bears

April 20, 2005--Posted at 6:51 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR - Black bears have long been a spiritual animal to many Native Americans. Some even raise bears at their home, as is the case for one Region 8 couple. The only problem is their bears have babies every year and they just can't keep them all. Now their new cubs need a home.

"We have no connections here to place the cubs," said Dennis Black Hawk, owner of the bears.

The cute cubs were born in captivity to 700 pound Timber and 500 pound Tundra. Black Hawk ordered them out of a magazine 12 years ago. His Native American religion recognizes them.

"The spiritual guide on the reservation said they'd be my spiritual guides for the rest of my life."

The bears have babies every January. Black Hawk and his wife used to donate them to different places when they lived up north. Now that they're down here in Arkansas the couple doesn't have any contacts.

"We tried to contact the Little Rock zoo but, they would not return our phone call."

They also call a place in Tennessee but, the state said no because these northern black bears are a different species than the ones here in the south. The bears can't be released into the wild because it's illegal. According the game and fish commission, it's not illegal to have these bears because they've been rasied in captivity.

"They go for about $800.00 a piece but we don't want to sell them, we want to donate them to someone who's willing to make a long term commitment."

That commitment is 25 - 30 years and they eat a lot when they grow up. They eat fruits, berries and even Mc Donalds. As for the little ones they drink expensive milk 7 to 8 times a day.

Black Hawk and his wife say they want a home for the cubs so bad but, he won't just give them to anybody.

"There's a lot of people out there that would probably like to raise them and shoot them for a bear rug."

Of course that's not what they want for the baby cubs. If you'd like more information about the cubs you can call Dennis at (870) 856-1032 or e-mail him at

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