| 5.1°C Dublin

Bear ‘foster mother’ adopts orphaned cub rescued by pet dog

The cub has been placed with a new mother who is nursing three of her own offspring.

Close

The cub was thought to be around three-weeks-old when a pet dog tuned up at its owner’s house with the baby animal in its mouth (The Wildlife Centre of Virginia/PA)

The cub was thought to be around three-weeks-old when a pet dog tuned up at its owner’s house with the baby animal in its mouth (The Wildlife Centre of Virginia/PA)

The cub was thought to be around three-weeks-old when a pet dog tuned up at its owner’s house with the baby animal in its mouth (The Wildlife Centre of Virginia/PA)

An orphaned black bear cub has been placed with a foster mother a week after being rescued by a pet dog.

The dog turned up at its owner’s house in Washington County with the cub in its mouth on February 5. The male cub was not hurt by the pet and was estimated to be around three-weeks-old.

The cub was taken to the Virginia Wildlife Centre in Waynesboro for treatment and eventually resettled with a foster family. He has now been placed with a new mother who is nursing three cubs of her own.

The male cub was one of two cubs to be taken to the centre in the last week (The Wildlife Centre of Virginia/PA)

The centre keeps female bears with monitoring collars on for this purpose — conservation officers use the collars to locate the bears, then track them and listen for cubs making sounds in their dens.

If they find a good match, staff members place orphaned cubs outside the dens, and mother bears usually adopt them as their own.

The male cub was settled into an incubator earlier this week where he received constant care and feeding.

He was described as bright, alert and “vocalising readily”.

The cub was one of two brought in to the centre in the last week — with a second female cub also successfully placed with a foster family.

A centre biologist said: “The sow held tight in her den and immediately scooped this little cub in when I placed her near the den entrance. The cubs in this den (we think there are two) are probably about two to three-weeks-old.”

PA Media