IFAW Russia: Orphan Bear Cub Diaries, April 8, 2010
The following was submitted by Marja Kingma, International Fund for Animal Welfarevolunteer currently working from IFAW's Orphan Bear Rescue Center in Bubonitsy, Russia.
This is my last blog post from Bubonitsy-unfortunately my holiday here is nearly at an end. It's been wonderful to see the cubs again and to help out with the feeding. I say a big 'Thank you' to the Pazhetnovs for having me again and for letting me near the cubs.
Yesterday afternoon Sergei and I went into the enclosure in the forest to feed the two bear cubs who were fitted with radio collars last week Sunday. One of them is already roaming the forest and only returns to the enclosure to feed. The second, smaller cub stays near the enclosure and spends most of its time high up in trees. That's where we finally found it after some searching; in the distance we saw a tall spruce tree and near the top there he was- comfortably sitting in the tree in the sun. We had already left food out so we quickly made our way out. Walking was a lot easier than a week ago, when the snow was still knee-high and we all struggled to move along. Now we only had to be careful not to slip on the ice.
Over the last few days the small cubs have been allowed to walk around in the bear house. They get stronger by the day. This morning I was a bit late for breakfast and found Svetlana en Sergei busy feeding. They could only handle two cubs at a time, so the three smallest cubs were still in their box, waiting for their turn. They didn't like it and were making a big noise. They nearly managed to get the lid off. I fed Lena her bottles and tried to make her eat from a bowl, but she is still not interested. It may sound cruel, but the best way for cubs to learn how to eat from a bowl is hunger.
If they don't want to eat at first they'll go hungry for a day or two. That'll make them go for the bowl in the end. I won't see Lena do all this, but I'll keep in touch with the family to follow how she's doing.