Baby black bear brought home by dog, rehabilitated, accepted by surrogate mama bear

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — “Can we keep it?” That was the question in a family dog’s eyes when it brought an orphaned black bear cub back home in Washington County, but within a week, that cub found himself a new mama bear.

According to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, the infant male cub was first discovered on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Washington County. The owners of the dog who found the cub contacted the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), who sent a biologist to bring the cub to the Wildlife Center on Thursday, Feb. 6.

According to reports from Dr. Claire — a veterinary intern with the Wildlife Center — the cub made noises readily and seemed bright and alert during his examination. In addition, other than mild dehydration, the 1.19 pound cub was reportedly healthy at the time of his admission.

A male black bear cub found in Washington County was brought to the Wildlife Center for examination and rehabilitation on Feb. 6. (Photo: Courtesy Wildlife Center of Virginia)

The Wildlife Center says its rehabilitation staff settled him in an incubator; added him to the ’round-the-clock bottle feeding schedule; and waited until Friday, Feb. 7 to introduce him to a female black bear cub who had been admitted to the center on Jan. 28.

The 1.25 pound female cub, according to the Wildlife Center, was found almost frozen on top of a brush pile in Craig County by power line workers on Jan. 22. The workers reportedly thought the cub was dead until they warmed her up and she started crying

The Wildlife Center announced on Monday, Feb. 10 that the two cubs spent the weekend in the same incubator and on the same bottle-feeding schedule. However, due to their different ages and sizes, DGIF decided to foster the cubs separately, according to the Wildlife Center.

DGIF reportedly discovered two active den sites — both with mother bears and cubs — and brought the female to the first den site for a fostering attempt on Monday. DGIF biologists also announced on Monday that they planned to pick up the male cub and bring him to the other den site for a surrogate mama bear to foster him on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The Wildlife Center added a quick update to the male cub’s profile on Wednesday saying that his foster attempt was successful. According to DGIF, the biologists sedated the mother bear to replace her radio collar and add the rescued cub to the three cubs she already had.

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