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Orphaned Georgian bear cubs undergoing rehabilitation
01 May, 2019
A lot of people know about Garrincha – an orphaned bear cub, which was found at the edge of the forest by a local of the village Upper Orbeli, Tsageri Municipality. The adorable bear cub that belongs to endangered species was handed over to Tbilisi Zoo, where he currently lives.
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The bear cub was named after legendary footballer Garrincha, he was lame – his left leg was shorter than the right one. So was the bear cub – when he was
brought to Tbilisi Zoo, he was lame and could not even move its injured paw that was the reason why the employees of the zoo gave him the name Garrincha.
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Apart from Garrincha, the zoo houses 4 other bear cubs. At present, all of the animals undergo rehabilitation. The high number of orphaned bear cubs drove the zoo administration to launch a rehabilitation program. The rehab center for the animals is located near Tbilisi Sea.
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The rehabilitation process aims to make the bear cubs as distant from people as possible. They have to learn how to find food independently otherwise the bear cubs will find it hard to live in their former habitat. The new zoo is equipped with special cameras in order to monitor the animals' behavior.
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The 5 bear cubs cannot be entirely isolated from people as there is always a person who brings food to them in the zoo. Besides, the animals have highly developed olfactory, auditory and mental abilities and are able to detect any change easily.
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Despite the rehabilitation program, orphaned bear cubs usually maintain stereotypical behavior caused by the trauma. When such infant bear cubs are taken to the zoo, they keep having a natural suckling reflex for a long time. If the problems are not tackled, the bear cubs will not be able to face difficult situations in a natural habitat.
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At a certain stage of their rehabilitation process, the bear cubs will be accompanied by wolves in order to mimic the animals’ natural habitat. In such an environment, the bear cubs will have to protect their food from the wolves. Apart from gaining self-defense abilities, the animals recognize that they are not the only living creature in nature. When taken back to their natural environment, special collars will be attached to the bear cubs for further monitoring.

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