An orphan black bear cub was placed with a surrogate mother this week after being saved by a dog and taken to a safe place.
The rescue effort developed after the dog appeared at its owner’s home in Washington County with a puppy in its mouth on February 5, said Bill Bassinger, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Inland Fisheries. Virginia, to news media. The male puppy was not injured by the dog, he added.
The puppy, which is estimated to be between two and three weeks old, was taken to the Virginia Wildlife Center in Waynesboro to receive treatment and eventual resettlement with his own species. The center maintains female bears with monitoring collars for this purpose, according to Bassinger. Conservation officers use collars to locate bears, then track them and listen to puppies that make sounds in their dens, says the center’s website. If they find a good combination, staff members place orphaned puppies out of burrows, and mother bears generally adopt them as their own, according to Bassinger and experts.
The maternal instinct is very strong in most animals,” Bassinger told Wytheville Enterprise. “In general, most females will recover the young, even after they have been handled by humans.”
The male puppy was installed in an incubator earlier this week where he received constant attention and feeding, said an update on the wildlife center’s website. He was described as bright, alert and “vocalizing easily.” The center said the puppy was placed with a new mother who was breastfeeding three puppies on Wednesday.