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Orphan cubs vanish after mother killed on highway

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Manitoba Conservation officers hope the bear cubs orphaned Saturday when a mother bear was struck and killed on Highway 313 go back to the spot where they last saw her, if they’re not scared away.

A update from Manitoba Conservation Saturday night said that if the cubs come back, officers will relocate them to a more remote area of the bush, north of Lac du Bonnet.

"At this time the young bears remain in their natural habitat. They may return to the area where the adult female was last with them and back to forested areas. Efforts to safely remove the bears to a more appropriate area of the forest will continue," a spokesman said in the email update.

"People are asked to remain out of the area as crowds could scare the animals and further endanger them," the spokesman said.

Manitoba Conservation authorities believe the cubs are old enough to fend for themselves.

"Generally speaking, cubs born in the spring have by now progressed to a stage of development where they are capable of foraging for food, "lessons" learned from the mother bear."

The baby bears disappeared before Manitoba Conservation officers could arrive on the scene of the highway roadkill mishap that claimed the life of the mother bear Saturday morning..

One motorist at the scene shortly after 10 a.m. on Highway 313 said Conservation officers told her they hoped to capture the cubs and release them into the wild.

"They’re only babies. They won’t survive," Cathie Mieyette. "Everybody’s going crazy because of Makoon being released and we don’t want that to happen again."

Earlier this spring, a St. Malo man took a baby bear cub home and tried to adopt it after he found the animal, which appeared to be starving, in a ditch along a highway. St. Malo is a French community about 70 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

In that case, the man kept the cub, dubbed Makoon, and had some 600 visitors come to his home to see the bear, which was the size of his pet chihuahua.

Manitoba Conservation scooped it up and it was eventually released into the wild, despite a public outcry against the action.

In this case, Conservation officers weren’t swift enough to catch the two cubs left orphaned on the highway.

"The bears are in the wild," a provincial spokesman said. There were no additional sightings of the pair Saturday afternoon.

History

Updated on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 9:27 PM CDT: updates

12:09 AM: updates

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