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Ely black bear, cub reunite

Bear researcher Lynn Rogers uses food to lure Hope the bear cub out of a tree near Ely in May. Hope had been separated from her mother, Lily. (File / News Tribune)

An Ely black bear and her cub have reunited after 1½ months apart.

Researchers Sue Mansfield and Lynn Rogers of the North American Bear Center confirmed today that Lily and her 5-month-old cub, Hope, reunited Sunday after the mother wandered into the cub's area.

The two were discovered together today by Mansfield, who has been the afternoon videotaping mother and cub and recording their behavior. Mansfield and Rogers estimate that the bears have been together since 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

"It just happened on their own. Lily got into Hope's area," Rogers said. "Lily will not let Hope out of her sight. They've been playing endlessly."

Despite the time apart, Lily managed to nurse Hope today. Rogers said a veterinarian who was with Mansfield was able to confirm Lily produced milk.

"I'm with them right now, and it's pretty intense," Mansfield said this afternoon during a phone interview.

Mansfield told Rogers that when Hope has something to eat, she snuggles up to Lily for security.

"This is going to mean Hope can sleep more," Rogers said. "Sue called me after about three hours with them. She said, 'I think they're going to stick.' "

Check back to for more on this story as it develops.