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Mark Stodghill, Forum Communications Co., Published May 31 2010

Cub getting spunk back after giving bear researchers a scare

DULUTH, Minn. – Hope, the 4-month-old bear cub who has become the darling of Internet animal lovers, got some of her spunk back Sunday after scaring bear researchers Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield with her lethargy and apparent inability to get milk from her mother, Lily, on Saturday.

“We saw her playing, even initiating playing with Lily, which is something that she didn’t want to do yesterday,’’ Rogers said today from the North American Bear Center in Ely.

Rogers said the 20-pound bruin wasn’t able to get milk from her mother on Saturday. “We saw them trying to nurse, but I’d really be surprised if she got any milk,’’ he said.

Rogers said the cub continued to try to nurse Sunday. “If she continues to do that, she could stimulate resumed lactation,’’ he said.

But the researchers ­didn’t wait for that. They purchased goat’s milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, yogurt, fish oil, calcium and some B vitamins, which they put together in a formula, Mansfield said.

“This morning, Lily became active after a night of rest. We connected with her, and I was very relieved to see that Hope was still with her,’’ Rogers said on Sunday. “This afternoon, Hope is bouncing around and investigating things. The stuff that we gave her is a really good formula that is getting a great response from experts across the country on how to simulate mother’s bear milk.’’

Hope became an Internet phenomenon after a video camera placed in Lily’s winter den recorded the cub’s birth Jan. 22. Lily has nearly 98,000 fans on Facebook.

Stodghill is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune