Bear cub found on roadside taken to Elistvere wildlife park

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The small bear cub found on a roadside in Rapla County. Source: Britta Kalgan

A bear cub, found on the roadside of a highway in Rapla County last week, will now live at the Elistvere wildlife park in southern Estonia as the Environmental Board assessed the small bear could not handle life in the wild. Humans could have played a hand.

The bear cub was handled by a Rapla County hunter until officials of the Environemental Board arrived. The board said it is incomprehensible how the cub was left at the road, as there were no tracks of her mother anywhere around.

Jan Siimson, head specialst of the Environmental Board's hunting and aquatic life bureau, said it is likely that someone took the bear from her home in the woods and brought her to the roadside.

Since taking the cub back to the forest was not likely to produce a reunion with her mother, an alternative solution had to be found. "[Elistvere wildlife park] is also not a good solution in our eyes. She can continue her life here, but she will no longer have a natural life as it is," Siimson noted.

For years, the only bear at Elistvere has been Karoliina. She likely has no clue that another member of her species arrive on Sunday. In a few years time, the roadside bear cub will grow to be as large as Karoliina and will need space of her own. The wildlife park's site manager Andri Plato said they do not have good enough conditions for a second bear yet.

"It is certainly a complicated situation for us, but we have a plan. We have to find some investments to improve living conditions, but I think we can do it. It has been a somewhat extraordinary situation and we had to react. We will go day-by-day and see how we can manage," Plato said.

The bear will spend the first few months being raised indoors and after she has grown in size, she will be taken to the bear area. According to Plato, visitors of the wildlife park can meet the bear in the summer.

The small bear cub found on a roadside in Rapla County. Source: Britta Kalgan

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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