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Bear cubs get chance at life with help of Rhinelander facility

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RHINELANDER (WAOW) -- A pair of sibling bear cubs were just four days old when they came to Wild Instincts Rehabilitation.

The cubs were found nearly frozen to death a few weeks ago after a farmer harvested his cornfield and scared off the cubs' mother.

"The mother would not have come back and they were in that field for several hours. At that point, these guys would have frozen to death," said Mark Naniot, the director of rehabilitation at Wild Instincts.

The cubs will have their eyes closed for about two more weeks and after that, human contact will be very minimal.

"We don't want an animal like this to get dangerous and not have a fear of people," said Naniot.

Before that happens, however, these cubs need to be bottle-fed every four hours then put back into their heated incubator of 87 degrees Fahrenheit, similar to the body temperature of mama bear.

Naniot has devoted his entire life caring for wildlife, so he is confident he can get the cubs running into the wild again.

"The hard part with us is that they grow too fast, so if we want them to go to a foster, we can't do that until March," he said. "Often times we have to tranquilize the mother and then she might collapse on them and we want them a little bigger so they can crawl out."

He said the end game is always getting to the day where they can be released again.

The bear cubs will be at the facility until workers can find a foster den for them in March.

If not, Wild Instincts has an enclosure outside and they will be released into the wild in October.

Victoria Saha

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