Tiny, abandoned baby bear ‘rescued’ by black Lab during hiking trip in NC mountains

Tiny, abandoned baby bear ‘rescued’ by black Lab during hiking trip in NC mountains
This is the 4-pound bear cub found Sunday off a road near Saluda, North Carolina. It was malnourished and believed to be only a few weeks old. (Credit: Screen shot of Youtube video courtesy of Blue Ridge Now)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A 2-year-old black Labrador named Boomer is being credited with rescuing a malnourished black bear cub found abandoned Sunday near the western North Carolina town of Saluda.

It's believed the cub is about 2 weeks old and weighed only 4 pounds, media outlets report.

Marvin Owings, former Henderson County Extension director, told Blue Ridge Now he was out walking when his dog Boomer ran ahead and started barking at something.

Owings discovered it was a small bear "scared half to death." He believes the dog rescued the bear from certain death, possibly due to starvation.

"I was a little cautious because I didn't know where the mother bear might be," he told the Hendersonville Lightning. "We left it and we walked on, hoping the mother bear would have taken the bear and walked off with it."

When Owings and Boomer came back a half hour later, Boomer found the cub 200 feet away from the original sighting, Blue Ridge Now reported. It was still alone, he told media outlets.

Owings contacted an area veterinarian, who collected the bear, fed it milk and honey, and turned it over to a state wildlife resource officer, media outlets report.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission game warden Toby Jenkins took the cub, which seemed to have gone days without eating, reported The Associated Press.

It is now headed to a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Caswell County, the only one in the state that rehabilitates bears, reports Blue Ridge Now.

State officials report abandoned or orphaned cubs are uncommon, and only one to two a year are found.