National Zoo Saves Sloth Bear Cub After 2 Eaten

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The sloth bear cub at one week old. (Photo: Stacey Tabellario, Smithsonian's National Zoo)

The sloth bear cub at one week old. (Photo: Stacey Tabellario, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

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WASHINGTON — 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.

MORE CUTE PHOTOS: National Zoo’s Sloth Bear Cub

When the third cub was left alone, animal keepers decided to take the cub and rear it by hand.

The zoo said Thursday that the surviving cub is now active and growing. Animal keepers are caring for her 24 hours a day as surrogate parents, carrying the cub in a sling and providing regular bottle feedings.

The zoo hopes to reintroduce her to other sloth bears.

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