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Rescued bear cub headed for ‘foster den’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A bear cub that was rescued from the side of a West Virginia highway will soon be headed to a "foster den," state wildlife officials said.

The cub became a bit of a celebrity in the Sutton area on Monday as state troopers took him to visit schoolchildren and teachers.

Trooper P.A. Huff was in the parking lot of the State Police detachment in Sutton on Monday when a woman pulled her minivan into the lot.

He didn't know what to expect when she got out with a bundle wrapped in a blanket. At first, he thought it was a baby and braced for the worst.

After speaking to her for a few moments, he got a look at the bundle and found it was indeed a baby — a baby bear, that is.  

"He's a cute little guy," Huff said.

Huff said the woman told him she'd found the cub on W.Va. 15 near the Braxton-Webster county line and that the mother was no where to be found. She waited in her vehicle, watching for the mother to reappear. But when the mother never showed up, she put the cub in her van and drove to the detachment.

The male cub was about the size of a house cat and had a very calm demeanor, troopers said.

"At that time, we took the opportunity to show the baby to the community," Huff said.  

The troopers thought schoolchildren and teachers would enjoy seeing the bear but Braxton County Schools were closed Monday while teachers were meeting at the county board office. Huff said troopers often spend time in the schools with children and thought they would enjoy seeing the little cub.

Because the schools were closed, they took the cub to Robbins Nest Day Care. Huff said the children enjoyed seeing the cub and were careful with the young animal. Their next stop was the Braxton Board of Education office where teachers were meeting.

Sgt. A.J. Shingler drove while Huff held the bear on his lap.

They contacted the Division of Natural Resources, and wildlife officers came to collect the cub shortly after.

Chris Ryan, a bear biologist with the Division of Natural Resources, said the cub would be placed in a "foster den" later this week. Though it's not the ideal situation for a young cub, wildlife workers often find bears make wonderful foster mothers and treat them as their own.

Although he said the woman who rescued the cub probably thought she was doing the right thing, she made the wrong decision. He said the cub was likely close to his den.

"The main thing to do when you see a cub alone like that is to leave it alone," Ryan said. "The mother has probably gone over the hillside or something, but 99 percent of the time she's going to come back for her cub."

Those who find lost cubs or other animals should contact their local Division of Natural Resources office.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.

 

 

 


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