Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman got an odd call in mid-April: "Michelle, we need your help." With her experience taking in and placing orphaned cougar cubs -- some 75 over the years -- the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife figured she'd have no problem fostering an orphaned American black bear cub. So she did.
She got permission to house the cub temporarily at the zoo's Veterinary Medical Center during her workday, taking him home with her at night since the cub was still of nursing age and required around-the-clock care. At just a couple of months old, the bear weighed 4 pounds -- about the same as a half-gallon of milk -- which, surprisingly, is normal for an animal that could grow to be 6 feet tall and weigh up to 600 pounds.
While Schireman was busy caring for the cub, ODFW got in touch with the NEW Zoo in Suamico, Wisconsin, home to an adult black bear named Winnie who was preparing for a new addition. The cub now is thriving in his new home, where he goes by the name Aldo.
"I'm glad they were able to find a home for him so quickly," Schireman said. "When ODFW called, I told them the Oregon Zoo already had a full house with four black bears. But I hoped there was a zoo out there that would be thrilled to take him in."