Orphaned polar bear cub cuddles ‘like a dog’ after rescue

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Like a real life Teddy bear, this polar bear cub just wants a hug.

Rescuers on behalf of the Moscow Zoo have successfully captured an orphaned polar bear, first discovered and cared for by a group of kind-hearted gold miners in the Arctic.

The female cub was found alone on the remote island of Bolshevik in the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, one of the northernmost territories of Russia.

Believed to have lost its mother, the hungry youngster came sniffing about the miners’ base last year, most likely seeking food as the bear was still too young to have learned to properly hunt.

After catching the rascal trying one-too-many times to break into their shed, the miners began to feed the helpless animal. A mutual trust grew over the course of many months, until they had managed to tame the wild beast to behave more “like a dog,” according to rescuers.

“All we knew was that the cub’s mother died, and that it was months ago when it discovered the base attracted by the smell of food,” said Andrey Gorban, director of Royev Ruchei Zoo in Krasnoyars, who helped oversee the bear’s transport from Bolshevik to the rescue center in Moscow according to the Siberian Times.

Feeding bears isn’t just dangerous; it’s illegal — as domestication could impair the juvenile bear’s hunting skills. However, this cub had been abandoned at such a young age that it’s unlikely it would have survived without the help of the miners with hearts of gold.

“For right or wrong, they fed the endangered animal and through that tamed it,” said the zookeeper.

Even if they had been concerned, for their lives or the cub’s, there was no way to get in touch with animal experts.

“The workers could only get in touch with us at the end of their work stint, as they had no communication link at the base,” Gorban explained.

When their employment contract ended in February, the workers hurried back to let rescuers know that a defenseless cub was alone on Bolshevik without food or protection from predators.

“We were told that the men were leaving back to the mainland, and the cub had stayed there alone,” Gorban told the Russian news outlet. “Our only hope was that they left quite a big open rubbish site, so there was a chance that the cub could feed off it for weeks.”

Every polar bear counts these days as fewer than 31,000 of them are left on Earth, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Added Gorban, “The shift workers saved its life, the cub had no chance to survive.”

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