Surrogate mother found for rescued, newborn cub

- Biologists in Virginia said on Tuesday they have found a surrogate sow for a rescued newborn black bear found in a den without its mother.

The cub is estimated to be about 10 days old and is being treated by experts with the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

The center's officials said that rabbit hunters discovered the cub, along with a sibling on Saturday.

The cubs were in a den by themselves in Lunenburg County.

Wildlife experts agreed that the two cubs should be left for the rest of the day to allow their mother to come back.

The following day, a biologist with the center checked on the bears and saw no signs of their mother.

One of the cubs had made its way out of the den and was very cold and wet.

"The biologist took the cubs and began warming and re-hydrating them; sadly, one of the cubs died later that same night," according to the Wildlife Center.

The surviving cub was brought to the center, where he's being fed every four hours in the intensive care unit.

An exam has shown the tiny animal is in good health.

Animal caretakers have fixed a live camera on the bear, which has been placed in an incubator in the center's ICU. You can watch the cub here on "Critter Cam 3."

The center said it has been working with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) in the search for a surrogate mother. 

On Tuesdsay, VDGIF biologists began checking den sites and got lucky. 

"Fortunately, the first den that was checked today had a cub present!" the Wildlife Center said. "The den is very difficult to get to, as it's in the middle of a cutover of land where multiple trees have been felled, but the biologists were able to clearly hear a cub in the den."

According to the VDGIF, "Using wild, female bears as surrogate mothers for orphan cubs has been a successful practice in Virginia. Female bears are excellent mothers and will readily take orphan cubs."

The cub is set to be brought to the surrogate on Wednesday morning.

Biologists will attempt to move close to the den site, but they plan to leave the cub outside the den, along with a camera to monitor what happens.  

Officials said that if the cub is not accepted, biologists will return to pick up the cub and bring him back to the Wildlife Center.

 

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