Zoo Saves Sloth Bear Cub After Mom Eats Siblings

Keepers are hand-raising her for now
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2014 12:30 PM CDT
Zoo Saves Sloth Bear Cub After Mom Eats Siblings
This handout photo provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, taken Jan. 6, 2014, shows keepers bottle-feeding the saved sloth bear cub at the zoo in Washington.   (Mindy Babitz)

Animal keepers at the National Zoo have saved a sloth bear cub after two others were eaten by the mother. The three cubs were born in December to a mother named Khali. One was eaten within 20 minutes, and a second cub was eaten after seven days. The zoo says it's not uncommon for carnivores to eat their young if they're compromised somehow. When the third cub was left alone, animal keepers decided to take the cub and rear her by hand.

The surviving cub was sickly and frail, suffering from an infection and cold, when keepers pulled her, the Washington Post reports, but the zoo says she is now active and growing. The cub's mother may have sensed all three of her cubs were sick, says one zoo expert. Animal keepers are caring for her 24 hours a day as surrogate parents. They carry the cub in a sling and provide regular bottle feedings. The zoo hopes to eventually reintroduce her to her mother or other sloth bears. (More National Zoo stories.)

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