Mike and Ike are two black bear cubs that were orphaned earlier this year when their mother was shot by a hunter who stumbled upon the family. According to the hunter, he ran into the bears and was attacked by the protective mother bear and shot her in self-defense. The loss of the mother left Mike and Ike, two incredibly young babies, alone. Thankfully, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, WWR, in Pittstown, NJ stepped up to the plate to care for the two little ones.
Unfortunately, Ike died for unknown reasons.
“We acknowledge that in spite of our best efforts as wildlife rehabilitators we are only second best to those wild mothers,” said Tracy Leaver, Executive Director of WWR.
Mike, however, is doing well. He is about to open his eyes and will remain in the care of WWR until early March. Biologists the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and staff of WWR are hoping to find a nursing black bear in the wild to foster the cub around that time.
“We did this successfully about four years ago with two other bear cubs. The great thing about that was we placed them with a bear we had rehabbed and returned to the wild about eight years previously,” states Leaver.
The most exciting news, however, on the orphaned bear front is the introduction of a “cub cam.” WWR in Pittstown has given NJ Advance Media permission to place a video camera in the incubator with Mike to show the public his adorable progress.
“We hope this inside look at the rehabilitation effort here at Woodlands will serve to educate the public,” said Leaver. “We want to engage and educate the public about black bears.”
Everyone will be able to open the website and view the bear cub’s actions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. WWR does want to remind everyone that the cub may not always be visible, however. He will be regularly removed for feedings and has the ability to move out of the frame or hide under a blanket.
“We are not responsible for bodily functions that may happen between feedings,” WWR writes on their website. “Please ‘bear’ with us.”
To watch the cuddly, little bear’s recovery process, visit the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge website here.
Woodlands Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit and receives no state or federal funding. If you would like to donate to Mike and the refuge, visit their website here.
Image source: Daily Record