Conservation Officer Jonathan DeLisle prepares to bring a rescued bear cub to Kilham Bear Center in Lyme.

MARLOW — The N.H. Fish and Game Department took a rare step Monday, rescuing a bear cub that had been abandoned by its mother near the intersection of routes 10 and 123.

“We only do it if it’s a matter of life or death for the critter,” Conservation Officer Jonathan DeLisle said. “We weigh all the aspects of the situation and take into account everything going on. And if we determine that without our intervention the cub wouldn’t survive, we make that decision.”

DeLisle used a fishing net to capture the male cub, who was born around Jan. 15 and had been seen on its own, and often crying, since Saturday, he said.

“Mom actually had three cubs, and she still has two with her. People have seen the other two cubs with her because they’ve been hanging out in a pretty visible spot,” DeLisle said Tuesday. “From what we gather, [the rescued cub] was the smallest and probably not able to keep up like the other ones. It’s not abnormal for a sow to abandon it and leave it behind like that, if it can’t keep up.”

Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Andy Timmons made the decision to intervene and take the cub to the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme based on the cub’s age and the amount of time he had been away from his mother, according to a Facebook post from the department. DeLisle transported the cub Monday afternoon.

“It was doing much better once it got warm. I was able to get it in a blanket and get the heat going in the truck,” DeLisle said, adding that the staff at the Kilham Bear Center told him the cub looks healthy, and hopefully will be able to be released in about 18 months.

Passersby may still see the mother and two cubs near the intersection of N.H. Route 10 and 123, but DeLisle urged people to leave them be and to take in bird feeders and secure their trash cans to avoid attracting bears to residential areas.

“We’ve been getting a significant amount of calls of bears in neighborhoods and around houses,” he said. “And we want to keep the bears wild.”

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.