Orphaned cub returned to bear country

Orphaned cub returned to bear country »Play Video
When a mother bear and her cub didn't hibernate this past winter, wildlife officer Bruce Richards trapped them near Enumclaw.

He found out the mother had been shot and was suffering from a broken jaw.

She had to be euthanized.

Her orphaned cub went to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood.

Five months since PAWS started caring for her, she was ready to go home to the woods.

She grew from 46 pounds to 110.

Even more important, she has a feisty personality.

"She was with her mother all through January and she learned all the skills she really needed from her," explained PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian John Huckabee. "She also learned the attitude, the behavioral aspects she needs."

PAWS also paired her with an orphaned male cub who was being rehabilitated, and they spent time wrestling, playing and socializing.

Now the female cub was ready for a journey that carried her well away from Lynnwood based PAWS and back to bear country.

Richards made the moment hard on her, shooting her with beanbags that hurt but don't injure, teaching her to stay away from people.

That includes the people who replaced her mother.

They think of the bear mother as a hero who cared for a cub even when she was severely injured.

"The mother deserved to have her youngster survive, pass that gene, that warrior," said Richards.

This cub knows how to be wild.

It's time to go live that way.

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