Baby Bear Makoon's Fate Hangs in the Balance at Manitoba Zoo

Rene Dubois rescued this bear cub from the side of the road in late March, fed it back to health and named it Makoon; now the bear waits at a Manitoba zoo for possible euthanization

It was rescued from the roadside in March, given a Cree name and now faces possible euthanization.

This was the latest word in the fate of little Makoon, as rescuer Rene Dubois's granddaughter named the bear cub he found starving as he drove, ironically, to buy bear bait. He waited 10 minutes for the cub's mother, he told the Winnipeg Free Press, then realized it was abandoned and brought it home, where it became part of the family.

The little critter was seized by conservation officials and brought to the Assiniboine Park Zoo on April 3 because of restrictions on having wildlife in the home, the Canadian Press reported. Officials are trying to find a way to get it to a bear-rescue facility in Ontario that has offered to take it, but they are hampered by laws against transporting wildlife across provincial lines.

There is a chance that, if they can't get around these laws, Makoon will need to be put down after all, the Winnipeg Free Press said.

Before being confiscated, the tot became something of a celebrity in southern Manitoba as Dubois brought it to an old-age home and showed it off to children. The 63-year-old Dubois, estimated that the cub had at least 600 visitors during its time as his guest. After just a week, though, the bear was getting a bit rough around the edges, and the retired construction worker said he had to wear heavy gloves when feeding it.

As an experienced hunter, Dubois knew that he could not keep a wild animal. But he didn't expect conservation officials to descend on his house and take it, he said.

"I feel like crying," Dubois told the Canadian Press after the cub was taken away by a biologist and a conservation officer on April 3. The man who bottle-fed Makoon back to life and learned about the care and feeding of cubs on the Internet to get the little bear's health up is left with only a phone number to call to get the bear's condition. He is not permitted to visit.

"Dubois said it was a heart-wrenching good-bye that he wasn't prepared for, but he's glad the cub is going to a place where he'll be well taken care of," the Canadian Press reported.

The day before Makoon's seizure, it made a hit on local radio, along with the Duboises. Watch Makoon work the computer and phones at radio station Mix 93.7 below.