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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can I keep him, Mom? Aldo the black bear cub recovering at rehab centre after being plucked from the wild by a teenager

By Daily Mail Reporter

A teenager illegally plucked a black bear cub from the woods and took it home - but soon called for help after realising the family had no idea how to care for it.

The bear, which could eventually grow to 6ft tall and weigh 600lbs, stayed with the family briefly at the end of April before they decided to take it to Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Centre in Oregon.

The centre promptly contacted Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who gave zoo keeper Michelle Schireman - known for taking in orphaned cougar cubs - a call.

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Plucked: Aldo the Bear was illegally taken from the woods by a teenager, but he soon realised he had no idea how to care for it

Happy: Aldo looked harmless when he was picked up, but his sharp fangs and claws were a giveaway

Deceptive: He may look cute and cuddly, but Aldo will grow to be 6ft tall and will eventually weigh around 600lb

She regularly fosters cougar cubs which cannot survive in the wild without their mothers, and has found zoo homes for 75 orphaned cougars over several years.

But the two-month-old black bear, which at the time weighed about 4lbs, was very different to anything she has looked after at home before.

She said: 'I got a call from the Department of Fish and Wildlife at home on my day off and they simply said 'Michelle, we need your help.'

'A couple of days later, a furry black animal about the size of a Labrador puppy wobbled around my boots looking confused.

Removed: The two-month-old black bear weighed about 4lbs when he was picked up by the teenager

Popular: Oregon is home to about 30,000 black bears which are North America's most common bear species

'He quickly latched on to a nearby cuddly toy beaver so he looked pretty harmless - but the sharp teeth and long claws were a bit of a giveaway.

'I'm usually the first person fish and wildlife departments call when orphaned cougars are found in the wild as young cougars can't survive without their mothers.

'I work with accredited zoos to find them new homes which is the reason they believed I might be able to find a home for this young bear cub too.

'I got permission to house the cub at the zoo's Veterinary Medical Center during the day then took him home with me at night as he needed around-the-clock care.

'It wasn't long before I found a home for him at the NEW Zoo in Wisconsin home to an adult black bear named Winnie. The little cub now goes by the name Aldo.

'I'm glad they were able to find a home for him so quickly. When ODFW called, I told them the Oregon Zoo already had a full house with four black bears. But I hoped there was a zoo out there and I'm thrilled they could take him in.

'But not as much as my dogs Rogue and Fergus who didn't know what to do when he was around them.'

Black bears are omnivorous and have a diverse diet including fruit, plants, berries and grasses and they are not usually active predators.

Oregon is home to about 30,000 black bears which are North America's most common bear species.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fired a warning to other people who might be tempted to take a bear home with them.

Warning: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife urged people tempted to take a bear home with them not to do so

Spokesperson Meg Kenagy said: 'If you see a young animal alone leave it where it is. It's likely that its mother is nearby - most animals leave their young to forage or hunt.

'Removing a young animal from the wild is illegal and greatly reduces the animal's chance of survival.'



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