Lisa Stewart, curator for Appalachian Bear Rescue, said 31 orphaned cubs have been brought in so far this year, the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel reported Monday. The previous record was 23 cubs in 2009.
Stewart said plentiful food supplies last year meant female bears had large litters in January and February of this year. Food, however, is scarce now because of heavy rains this year that limited berry and nut supplies.
The cubs that are being rescued are severely malnourished and many have parasites that prevent them from gaining weight, Stewart said.