April 5 (UPI) — A North Carolina hiker credited his dog with the rescue of an orphaned black bear cub found malnourished in the woods.
Marvin Owings said he and Boomer, his 2-year-old black lab, were hiking along South Lake Summit Road in Saluda on Sunday when the canine led him to the baby bear.
“We didn’t touch it or do anything with it,” Owings told Blue Ridge Now. “I was just hoping the mother would come back, so we continued hiking.”
“It’s the first time I’ve come across a baby bear,” Owings told the Henderson Lightning. “I’ve read stories about the mother bear being close by. You wouldn’t want to get between her and the cub.”
Owings said he and Boomer returned to the spot about a half hour later, but the bear was gone. He said he initially thought the cub’s mother had returned, but Boomer found the animal about 200 feet away, still alone.
Owings contacted veterinarian Beverly Hargis, who retrieved the cub and contacted North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Game Warden Toby Jenkins, who took the bear to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
Hargis said the bear was weak and malnourished when she found it, but it was able to eat food that she gave it.
Jenkins said his wife, Billie, fed the bear some goat’s milk, which seemed to help it regain some strength. He said the three-month-old cub is regaining some strength.