Officials hope to reunite bear cub with mother after wildfire

EUSTIS, FL -- Officials say they are hoping to reunite a black bear with a bear cub rescued by firefighters after a large wildfire.

Natorie Borst was driving with her dad when she heard squealing sounds coming from the woods around the Royal Trails subdivision on Thursday.

Original report: Baby bear rescued from wildfire by firefighters
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An adorable bear cub survived a fast-moving wildfire

"I made my dad back up," Borst says. "I made him back up, because it sounded like something was hurt."

That something was a bear cub, whose paws were injured and fur was singed by the fire.

The 17-year-old says she walked into the forest and made contact with the bear now lovingly referred to as Smokey Jr.

"He got so excited," Borst says. "He came running toward us, like he was happy. He was just happy to get out of there."

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Firefighters show off photos of a baby bear they rescued while battling a fire

Smokey Jr. was checked out at a veterinarian's office, and now he's back in the forest today, healthy and ready to be reunited with his mother.

Mike Orlando with the Florida Wildlife Commission says the best opportunity for Smokey Jr.'s survival is to be with his mom.

Officials are walking around the woods, spreading his scent in hopes Mama Bear will smell him and come back for him.

Until then, he's in a crate under some blankets, waiting for as long as it takes until this family is reunited.

"He's going to be fine, and that's the happy ending to it all," says Ray Lovett, of the Florida Forest Service.

It's a happy ending that wouldn't of happened without the help of an alert teen.

"My gut was telling me there was something in there, and we needed to go back," Borst says.

If Mama Bear doesn't return for some reason, wildlife officials say they will care for Smokey Jr. until he can be released in the wild on his own.

See More: Bear-y Cute News

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