hand-raising orphaned Florida black bear cub
ABOVE VIDEO: Despite the ever-evolving challenges facing our Zoo and community, Brevard Zoo is continuing to aid wildlife in need by taking on the responsibility of hand-raising an orphaned Florida black bear cub.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Despite the ever-evolving challenges facing our Zoo and community, we’re continuing to aid wildlife in need by taking on the responsibility of hand-raising an orphaned Florida black bear cub.
In late February, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel responded when a member of the public found a weeks-old black bear cub alone on a dirt road in Ocala National Forest.
FWC staff took the cub with them as they searched the area for his mother, keeping the young bear overnight as temperatures were forecast to drop into the thirties.
FWC had set up a remote camera over a blanket with the cub’s scent on it overnight, but no adult female was observed.
FWC had the cub examined by a veterinarian and cared for him for several days, which involved placing him in an incubator and bottle-feeding him every few hours.
The cub had an “uncoordinated suck,” which made him difficult to nurse and may have been the reason why he was abandoned. This condition and the resulting abandonment have been observed in domestic animals.
Because he was abandoned at such a young age, the cub is not a candidate for release back into the wild, and FWC staff transferred him to us for long-term care.
The cub, who is an estimated six weeks of age, is now healthy, feeding well and has opened his eyes! His primary caretaker, curator of animals Lauren Hinson, has successfully hand-raised several other Zoo residents.
The young bear is fed every four hours around the clock—including during the night.
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