One night early in November a rather dramatic, close-call rescue occurred on a highway on the Eastern slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes.
Incredibly, a female Andean bear cub around seven weeks old was spotted on the yellow lines in the middle of the highway by a local policeman, who stopped traffic to save her from certain death.
Without a doubt, the actions of the kind policeman were totally justified in saving the poor cub as there was a line of heavy goods vehicles coming up right behind him that would have certainly crushed the tiny bear.
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Luckily, the rescue took place five minutes away from the IFAW-supported Andean Bear Foundation's Iznachi Bear Sanctuary.
With no mother in sight the helpless cub was immediately taken to the sanctuary and put into capable hands for 24-hour care.
A thorough check up by Andean Bear Foundation (ABF) veterinarian revealed the cub – now named Cosanga after the area she was found in – was in good health.
Cosanga’s eyes had not been open for very long; Andean bear cubs open their eyes at around 40 days old. But Cosanga is strong, responsive and is suckling well on her milk substitute. Several days after admission, she took her first wobbly steps.
Historically, the ABF sanctuary took in only a couple of bears per year. But counting Cosanga, the sanctuary has received five bears in the past seven months, which is a testament to the escalating human/wildlife conflict situation in the area. ABF is doing their best to minimize conflict through education while attempting to bolster populations through rehabilitation and reintroduction.
The ultimate goal is to give Cosanga a second chance at freedom back to the wild once she has reached adulthood and has learned the necessary skills with which to survive in the wild. The Andean Bear Foundation will work alongside the Ministry of Environment to help that happen.