By Sarah Mansheim
If Wednesday afternoon was any indication, Frankford Elementary School kids may be ready to change their school mascot from the Pirates to the Cubs. Joel Rosenthal, who owns the Point of View Farm animal sanctuary in Denmar, delighted the children when he brought three bear cubs to the school.
The cubs, named Muffin, Waffles and Pancake, are three months old. During his educational presentation in the school gymnasium, Rosenthal fed the bears with a bottle as school children and teachers asked questions. Rosenthal, who has gray hair, joked with the children that his new name should be “Silverlocks and the Three Bears.”
When one of the children asked how he could tell the three-month-old cubs apart, he replied, “Any mama can tell her babies apart.” He explained how the cubs have slight variations in their markings that allowed him to distinguish the cubs.
Rosenthal said the cubs were brought to him after their mother was killed. He will keep them until next spring and then release them into the wild. Meanwhile, he said, they are so young that they are living with him inside the house. “They just started walking around in the last few days,” he said.
Soon, they will be moved out of the house into enclosures, and their diet of formula (Rosenthal said he uses one made for fawns) will begin to include solid food. As the bears grow, Rosenthal will continue to function as the bears’ “mother,” teaching them to survive in the West Virginia forests and even wrestling with them.
Rosenthal advised the children that black bears are usually harmless to humans.
“Black bears are benign,” he said. “More people are killed by lightning strikes in one year than black bears in 100 years.”
Rosenthal is certified to rehabilitate any wild animal in West Virginia. For more information on Point of View Farm or to schedule an educational visit, call Rosenthal at 304-653-4766.