VIDEO: Several Russian bear cubs progress well despite rough beginnings

Four bear cubs were brought to the International Fund for Animal Welfare bear rescue center from the Central Forest Nature Reserve in Russia; three females and one male.

The tourists walked in the buffer zone of the reserve alone without the reserve staff.

They were too near the den not knowing it.

Probably the female bear heard them, was frightened, left the den and ran away. The tourists saw it and heard the sounds of the bear cubs in the den but they thought that the mother would return and waited for that for some time and only then went to the reserve office to report the case.

When the reserve staff came to take the bear cubs, they found four small cubs born one or two days before. Only the two larger and stronger bear cubs survived.

The other two females had pneumonia as a result of undercooling, were treated with antibiotic but it didn't help. The autopsy showed extensive pneumonia and only 3-5 mm of live tissue.

The other two bear cubs were in good state, started to drink from a bottle very soon and stably gained weight. The first weeks they were fed eight times a day every three hours with baby food for the next three months.

Now the bear cubs are fed every four hours, consume 200 ml every feeding (compared to 50 ml at the beginning), and weigh 2300gram the female and 2250 the male, compared to 500 grams at arrival.

The female was given a name – Zosya.

The male doesn't have a name yet, and ideas on his name are welcome.

A few weeks later, four male bear cubs were delivered to the Center from Novgorod Region. Sergey reported that it was the result of a legal hunt and even gives the hunters’ license number. We asked him to investigate more into this, as the winter hunt is banned in Russia.

The den was discovered in January during the hunt on elk with dogs. The dogs barked at the bear, and were recalled. The site was marked for the future hunt.

The bear lay in a surface den under a small fir tree on the bedding she made of twigs.  After she was raised by dogs and shot, the dogs were swiftly called away and the hunters took the bear cubs.  The cubs were delivered to Center the same day.

This blog post written by Mila Danilova.

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Senior Program Advisor
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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
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Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
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