First two rescued bear cubs arrive at Russia center

The first rescued bear cubs of 2017 have arrived at OBRC.Two rescued bear cubs, a male and a female, were delivered to IFAW’s Bear Rescue Center (OBRC) in Bubonitsy, Russia.

The cubs were rescued near Bezhanitsy village in Russia’s Pskov Region. On February 12, 2017 woodcutters in a forest nearby saw bear footprints in the snow. They decided to follow the tracks and find out where they led. Soon, they heard the bear cub’s whining and shrieks. The woodcutters approached and saw a very basic den – it was just a shallow hollow in the ground with two bear cubs in bedding made from fir twigs by their mother. Luckily, there was cell phone coverage and the woodcutters called the local hunt inspector who explained the mother bear would not return.

The orphaned bear cubs needed to be rescued. International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) staff Sergey and Katya Pazhetnov arrived to pick up the cubs that evening and immediately began warming up the cubs and drove them to IFAW’s Bear Rescue Center (OBRC).

They were examined the following morning and estimated to be 40-45 days old. The female weighed 1.9 kg and the male weighed 2.1 kg. Their eyes and ears were open and they tried to stand up on their paws. Overall, they were healthy, except for two small, dried scratches on the female’s neck.

The bear cubs need a special dietary formula every four hours. Though the formula is similar to the bear’s milk, it differs in fat and sugar content. The switch can cause constipation, but is easily treated with medication and a belly massage after each feeding.

For young bears, temperature is very important and their behavior provides clues to how they’re feeling. If they nestle up to each other and squeak, they are cold. If they sleep in the opposite corners of the box, lie on their back and breathe hard, they are hot.

The cubs will be rehabilitated and hopefully released back to the wild when they are old enough to survive on their own.

--MD

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