Rescued bear cubs Bradley and Cooper are just 4-months-old, but they will soon have to make their way into the Greek forest if they want to learn to eat on their own. The orphaned cubs were scooped up by the Arcturos sanctuary in northern Greece, which saves captive or orphaned bears and reintegrates them into their natural environment. They will join five other cubs that were adopted by the organization last year, three of which are set to be released in Bulgaria and the other two in Greece.
The organization has taken on the task of training the bottle-fed bears to survive in the wild and — according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation — they will also teach the bears anything else they would have learned from their mother.
“We teach them what they need to know; where to find food, what they should eat, how they will make their nest in the winter,” said Melina Avgerinou, the caretaker at Arcturos.
“According to the season, we try to teach them what their mother would have taught them in nature.”
The cubs were discovered by a local in the village of Kozani just an hour away from the city. And while Arcturos says that the ideal option would have been getting the cubs to live with their mother, they were kept in a sheep pen for a week before the organization picked them up, which makes it too long for reuniting, per Greek Reporter.
Bradley and Cooper adopted by bear sanctuary The brown bear sanctuary 'Arcturos' announced the adoption of two three-month-old orphan bear cubs,named Bradley & Cooper,that had been found-cared by a farmer. After a year theyll be released back to the wild. https://t.co/fPCVMpCGHD pic.twitter.com/WJchVIQpR7— Christos G Failadis (@xfailadis) April 18, 2019
According to Avgerinou, it takes approximately one year to teach bears basic survival skills, including foraging for food in the forest and minimizing contact with humans. During the winter, they hibernate in the sanctuary and are moved into the woods before they wake up. The organization tags and tracks the bears to make note of their performance and if it’s not up to par, they return to the sanctuary.
“If during that period they show us that they have adopted the wild behavior of a bear, then we are optimistic that they will make it,” said Panos Stefanou, Arcturos’ communications officer.
Stefanou couldn’t confirm if the cubs were named after Bradley Cooper, the actor.
The discovery of the cubs pushed Arcturos to remind the public that bears in the woods are not necessarily abandoned or orphans — their mother might be close by.
“For this reason, they must not approach or try to catch bear cubs, but immediately inform the forestry service, police or Arcturos and stay on hand to show the location where the cubs were found.”