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Baby Bear Saved From Hunters Can't Believe Her New Home

"Without rescue, the life waiting for Sammy could have been one out of a horror story."

"Without rescue, the life waiting for Sammy could have been one out of a horror story," Lao Wildlife Rescue Center (LWRC) wrote this week.

Sammy is a 7-month-old bear cub who was discovered being sold at an illegal market after her mother was probably killed by hunters.

"[S]he would have probably ended up being sold for consumption or to waste her life away in a small cage while being kept as a pet," the rescue group wrote. Many illegal markets exist along the Lao-Vietnam border - the region is a major gateway for the illegal wildlife trade from southeast Asia to China.

But Sammy's luck changed when wildlife authorities confiscated her from traffickers and called the LWRC for help. "The story of [Sammy's] rescue will probably end up in the books as one of the most nerve wrecking journeys our rescue team had to travel," the group wrote.

"We are unsure about how long she had been kept at the market before she was confiscated. We assume it must have been at least several weeks," Michelle Walhout-Tanneau, of LWRC, told The Dodo. "Although she was found to be in relatively good physical health, mentally she has suffered a lot. She showed extreme signs of stereotypical behavior for her young age and was overall very fearful and stressed by the presence of humans."

After picking up Sammy to bring her back to the rescue center, the team expected the 870-mile return trip to take them just one night. Instead, they traveled through typhoon storms and flooding for the next four days - all the while toting a bear cub in a crate.

"[We drove] for more than 58 hours while facing flooded streets, collapsed roads and landslides blocking the already harsh to travel routes through the mountains of Northern Lao," LWRC wrote. "Fortunately Sammy proved herself to be a real patient and tough passenger, exhausted from the conditions she previously had to endure she slept most of the drive."

Finally, the rescue team arrived at Sammy's new home.

The bear who had been found being sold in a cage took her first few steps toward her brighter future.

Sammy got the opportunity to sniff around and explore the rescue center's forest.

And she was quite curious about all the shrubs and smells.

"Even after a day at our facilities we can slowly see her settle in and starting to flourish," Walhout-Tanneau said.

Sammy will soon join the other recently rescued bear orphans, Lucy and Missy.

Together, they'll grow into big and healthy bears.

And they'll learn how to be wild again.