Three bear cubs left orphaned after their mother was hit by a car are now in the caring paws of a new bear family in the wild thanks to the tireless dedication of wildlife authorities -- and a bit of cold medicine.
When staff from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources got word that a bear had been killed and her three cubs were left stranded and helpless in a nearby tree, they quickly followed through with an emergency plan put in place for just such situations.
As part of a bear surrogate program in Lake County, several other female bears in the area had been fitted with tracking collars so they could be found in case they were ever needed to be called upon to take care of needy cubs. After some searching, DNR staff located a mother bear with two offspring around the same age as the new orphans -- deemed the perfect candidate to accept three more youngsters into her clan.
But how do you convince a bear to spontaneously adopt? Apparently, it's not that complicated.
According to Fox 17 News, DNR staff simply approached the surrogate bear, causing her to instinctually usher her natural cubs into a tree for safety before running off to hide. Next, once she was out of sight, they smeared Vics VapoRub on to the three orphans to mask the scent of humans and then placed them into the same tree.