After a sloth bear ate two of her cubs, the zookeepers at Smithsonian's National Zoo decided to rescue the third, and raise it without the help of its mother.
The National Zoo in Washington D.C. is home to a sloth bear that gave birth to three cubs at the end of last year.
Carnivores will often eat one of their young if it is sick, so that it doesn’t attract predators to the den.
So after the mother ate two of her cubs, the zookeepers decided to rescue the third, and raise it without the help of its mother.
This is reportedly the first time that the National Zoo has tried to raise a sloth bear cub by hand, and after three months of human care, the cub that was in danger of dying has become healthy and active.
Mindy Babitz, a sloth bear expert who works at the zoo is quoted as saying: “Anything from feeding to cleaning...to holding, bonding, snuggling. When you’re working with a bear, they’re so complex emotionally and cognitively and socially, and they need that bonding...and whether it comes from their own mom or human doesn’t really matter at that age.”
The zookeepers hope to eventually introduce the rescued cub back into the sloth bear habitat at the zoo, where it might even be able to live together with its mother or father.