Officials attempt to reunite bear cub with mother

Wildlife officials took a black bear cub for a walk in the woods Friday afternoon. They hoped to attract its mother.
The mother and cub were separated Thursday during a brush fire near the Royal Trails subdivision about northeast of Eustis.

"He was screeching really loud waiting for her to come and I was just hoping that mama bear wasn't going to come out!" said 17-year-old Natorie Borst, who told reporters that she wants to be a conservationist one day. Borst and her family discovered the bear alone and scared as they were driving away from the fire. "I made my dad back up. I made him back up because it sounded like something was hurt," Borst said.

The family plucked the bear from the smoking terrain and handed him over to Lake County firefighters who nicknamed the bear "Smokey Junior." "I think it's a really good name since we found him in the smoke, really," Borst said.

Firefighters turned Smokey Junior over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The cub spent the night in an animal hospital.

"I seen his nose it was a little burnt up. His hair was singed. But other than that he was fine," Borst said.

Friday FWC officials walked the bear around the woods near the spot where he was found and draped a blanket with Smokey Junior's scent over some branches, hoping the mother bear would sniff the baby out. "Hopefully they get reunited back together," Borst said.