Bear cub Hope reunited with mom Lily

Coaxing Hope out of the tree
Coaxing Hope out of the tree
Photo by Clint Austin for the Duluth News Tribune

Dragged down from a fir tree by the scruff of her neck, Hope the Internet sensation bear cub was rescued Wednesday evening and reunited with her mother, Lily, by wildlife biologists who thought earlier in the week she might have died.

The cub, whose birth was witnessed all over the world via live online video in January, had wandered into the woods away from her mother on Friday at the North American Bear Center in Ely.

Those woods are a big place for a little lost cub too small for a radio collar. Researchers even tried finding her with the help of a heat-seeking camera provided by the St. Louis County Rescue Squad.

In the end it was a friend, not fancy technology, who found the cub. Mike Kochevar was out for an evening drive when he spotted a cub hunkered down in a tree about two miles from the bear center. He called in the center's founder, researcher Lynn Rogers.

Hope was found. Mother and cub were reunited.

"It was the most gratifying moment of my 46 years of research," Rogers told the Duluth News Tribune. "When they saw and heard each other, the vocalizations were unbelievable. You could tell she was saying, 'I want you back, little cub.' "

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