A malnourished, orphaned Louisiana black bear cub is slowly regaining his health and will even soon have a foster mom.
The two-pound, 7-weeks-old cub could gain a new mother as soon as the yearly survey of female bears shows another cub or two of the same size, reported Maria Davidson, head of the large carnivore program of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
How will the “adoption” happen? Davidson explained that the female bears, who are just so maternal and nurturing, happily accept an extra cub sneaked into their den.
“I’ve seen it a number of times and I’m always amazed by it,” she told the Associated Press over the phone.
These black bears give birth around January to February, with the females generally healthy and fat in March. The little poor bear and his biological mother, however, appeared skinny during a checkup and the cub’s standard microchipping procedure Tuesday.
The day after, the mother was already dead as shown by the collar’s changing radio signal if an animal fails to move for 12 hours. Davidson took out the cub, which only weighed around 1.25 pounds and was lethargic and weak.
But even if officials find a good litter anytime this week, it is uncertain if the bear will survive. According to Davidson, a substantial number of cubs perish — and only DNA and microchip data would inform of the cub’s survival unless all of the cubs in the foster parent’s litter make it.
Last Thursday, the cub already weighed two pounds, bouncing back faster than expected. He was also already sleeping and eating normally.
The Louisiana black bears, which inspired the image of the classic teddy bear, were taken off the “threatened” list last week. After 24 years of conservation efforts, the creatures had rebounded in number. In 1992, only around 150 bears lived in their habitat, meriting an “endangered” classification.
Facing factors such as overexploitation, the black bears were given a new lease in life through the reinstatement of over 485,000 acres of forest in areas considered priority for conservation initiatives.
In 1902, the black bear became a quintessential part of American culture when President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. The Washington Post got wind of the incident, and a Brooklyn-based candy store owner created a memorabilia in its honor and christened it as the now famous “Teddy” bear.