THE Manitoba government has decided a rescued bear cub nicknamed Makoon will be released back into the wild in June.

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THE Manitoba government has decided a rescued bear cub nicknamed Makoon will be released back into the wild in June.

James Duncan of the province's wildlife branch said Friday officials discussed the fate of the black bear with animal experts and determined he could be rehabilitated and released.

Rene Dubois of St. Malo found this baby bear in a ditch last month. Conservation officers took him to the Assiniboine Park Zoo. There's been intense interest in his future.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Rene Dubois of St. Malo found this baby bear in a ditch last month. Conservation officers took him to the Assiniboine Park Zoo. There's been intense interest in his future.

"It's too bad that this bear was subjected to such exposure," said Duncan. "But according to our own bear expert and others, given the stage of its life, it's not likely to have imprinted on humans.

"That's part of the assessment -- not only health but also the state of the animal's wildness."

He said the animal will remain at the Assiniboine Park Zoo for another seven or eight weeks.

Officials will then release the cub in a remote location of the province to boost its chances of survival, since adult male bears tend to prey on cubs.

"When it's weaned, it should not pose a threat to humans and also it would not be at risk itself in terms of being released and being overly familiar with humans," Duncan explained.

The cub became a celebrity after a man from St. Malo found him dying in a ditch last month and took him home to nurse him back to health.

Hundreds of people travelled to the home to cuddle the bear and take his photo before conservation officers took him away.

 

-- The Canadian Press