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Credit: Connor Mallon, Smithsonian's National Zoo
Animal caretakers are hand-raising this sloth bear cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The as-yet-unnamed female was…Read More »

one of three cubs born at the zoo on Dec. 29, 2013.

Tragically, the mother, Khali, ingested the first cub about 20 minutes after she gave birth. It is not uncommon for carnivores, including sloth bears, to ingest stillborn — or even live — cubs if they or the mother is thought to be compromised, according to officials at the National Zoo. Seven days later, Khali, who zookeepers describe as an experienced mom, ingested a second cub and spent several hours away from her remaining cub on Jan. 6, which is not normal behavior for a sloth bear with a newborn cub, animal caretakers said.

"Our team is always prepared to intervene and hand-rear a cub if it appears that a cub is not thriving," Tony Barthel, a curator at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, said in a statement. "We already had developed a plan for hand-rearing before Khali gave birth, and our ability to act quickly was critical."

Zookeepers say the young cub, pictured here on March 20, is benefitting from her round-the-clock care, and is active and growing. [Related: World's Cutest Baby Wild Animals]   Less «
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