Exhausted bear cub found near Iraqi border gets new home in Turkey

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Hakvan is the latest resident of an animal rehabilitation center in the eastern Turkish province of Van. The bear cub was brought there from Hakkari, a nearby province on the Turkish border with Iraq.

He was wandering around, tired and hungry, when locals found him in a rural area, apparently separated from his mother. Named Hakvan (a combination of Hakkari and “hayvan,” Turkish word for animal), the cub was handed over to the wildlife protection authority. Wildlife authorities took care of the cub and released it back into the wild, only for it to show up again in a residential area. Seemingly unable to survive on his own, Hakvan was taken to a center that specializes in caring for wild animals in Van.

The cub is now being nursed back to health. Bottle-fed every three hours and on a special diet, Hakvan is under the watch of vets around the clock. Professor Lokman Aslan, the director of the center, told reporters that they treated dozens of injured animals brought in every year but bears are rare. He said they most recently treated two adult bears who were injured. “(Hakvan) is fine now. He was fed and released back to the spot where he lost his mother but he could not locate her. So, we took him here. He has the perfect habitat here similar to his natural habitat,” he said.

Aslan said the rehabilitation of mammals is a difficult process and once they got accustomed to people, they have trouble going back to nature. “We will apply a special rehabilitation process for him but he will be a longtime guest here,” he said on Wednesday.

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