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Takes a Village: Bear ‘Foster Mom’ Raises Cub Saved by Dog

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In this photo provided by the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a male black bear cub who was admitted to the center on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Waynesboro, Va. is cared for by staff members. The cub was rescued the night before in Washington County when a family dog brought it home to its owners. The baby is being resettled with a mother bear and her biological cubs. (Wildlife Center of Virginia via AP)

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An orphaned black bear cub has been placed with a substitute mother this week after being saved by a dog and brought to safety.

The rescue effort unfolded after the dog turned up at its owner’s home in Washington County with a cub in its mouth on Feb. 5, Bill Bassinger, wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, told news outlets. The male cub wasn’t hurt by the dog, he added.

The cub, estimated to be two to three weeks old, was taken to the Virginia Wildlife Center in Waynesboro for treatment and eventual resettlement with his own species. The center keeps female bears with monitoring collars on for this purpose, according to Bassinger. Conservation officers use the collars to locate the bears, then track them and listen for cubs making sounds in their dens, the center’s website says. If they find a good match, staff members place orphaned cubs outside the dens, and mother bears usually adopt them as their own, Bassinger and experts said.

“The mothering instinct is just very strong in most animals,” Bassinger told the Wytheville Enterprise. “Generally, most females will take the young back, even after it has been handled by humans.”

The male cub was settled into an incubator earlier this week where he received constant care and feeding, an update on the wildlife center’s website said. He was described as bright, alert and “vocalizing readily.” The center said the cub was placed with a new mother who was nursing three cubs of her own on Wednesday.

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Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31, featuring virtual pet adoptions to make it easy for people to donate online to participating shelters and rescues.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015 and we want to add to the number.

Find a shelter near you:

  • Pasco County Animal Services, 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  • Paw Warriors, Inc., 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  • Pinellas County Animal Services, 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, Wesley Chapel
  • Cat Haven Rescue, Inc - Pasco, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, 5718 21st Ave West, Bradenton
  • Hernando County Animal Services, 19450 Oliver Street, Brooksville
  • SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  • Barking Out Loud Rescues, Inc, 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  • Precious Paws Rescue, Inc., Citrus County Florida, 5164 S. Florida Avenue, Inverness
  • Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  • Hernando County SPCA, 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  • Rebels Rescue, Petco 136 S. West shore Blvd, Tampa
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Friends of Strays Animal Shelter, 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  • Florida English Bulldog Rescue, P.O. Box 754, Odessa
  • The Humane Society of Polk County, Inc, 3195 Dundee Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Humane Society of Sarasota County, 2331 15th Street, Sarasota
  • Hands Helping Paws Rescue Inc., 53 W Bay Blvd S, Lake Wales
  • Humane Society of Manatee County, 2515 14th Avenue W, Bradenton
  • Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services, 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  • Manatee County Animal Services, 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  • SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  • Citrus County Animal Services, 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  • St Francis Society, PO Box 261614, Tampa
  • FLUFF Animal Rescue, 9400 SEMINOLE BOULEVARD, SEMINOLE
  • SPCA Tampa Bay, 9099 130th Ave N, Largo
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control, 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  • The Greener Side Haven, Inc., 3892 N Lecanto Hwy, Beverly Hills
  • Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka City

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