Wild bears have a ferocious reputation, but one mama bear just showed the softer side of her species. With the help of a few humans, she’s adopted a cub whose mom died tragically.
The bittersweet story began when a passing human heard the poor cub crying on the side of a road in eastern Tennessee — its mother had died after being hit by a car. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency teamed up with Appalachian Bear Rescue to find the little one and administer some much-needed TLC.
According to a March 4 post on Appalachian Bear Rescue’s Facebook page, the male black bear cub was only about seven weeks old and weighed just under 2 pounds. The rescue took the baby in with the goal of releasing him to a new, wild mom. Workers dubbed him Peace Bear “because the world could sure use a little right now.”
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency knew of a sow — a female bear — who had two cubs about the same age as Peace Bear. They also knew that she’d “fostered” other cubs in the past.
So, in a delicate operation, they gave Peace Bear a chance with a new mom. Rescue workers made sure the little guy was calm and full of formula before placing him outside his new family’s den — they didn’t want a fussy cub’s cries to startle the mama inside.
It all went smoothly! In a celebratory post, the agency said workers saw the big bear’s paw reach up and bring the little guy in:
“We caught one final glimpse of his little feet as he disappeared from sight and joined his new family,” Appalachian Bear Rescue wrote on Facebook in the update. The next thing they heard was contented nursing sounds from Peace Bear and his foster siblings.
Hopefully, Peace will continue to grow up with his new family. Black bears usually spend about 18 months to two years with their mothers, according to the National Park Service.
With spring quickly approaching, mama bears and their babies will soon be leaving their winter dens. Fingers crossed for some heartwarming shots of sweet Peace Bear thriving with his new mom and sibs!