The bear cubs were found last month by Ilinka Bigovic, who lives in a village perched on the Pusti Lisac mountain, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the capital Podgorica, near the Bosnian border.
“I heard some screams. Persistent, day and night, for two or three days,” the 61-year-old said.
Bigovic searched the area with her brother until they almost stumbled over the cubs “separated, on the brink of death, weak,” she told AFP.
“We brought them home, put at a warm place near the stove and fed them milk and honey.”
Montenegro´s mountains are home to 50 to 100 brown bears, according to ecologists, while the national hunters´ association puts their number at 357.
Bigovic, who breeds goats, is used to close encounters with wild animals, a wolf recently killed a goat just near her house and she often sees bears.
The story of the two orphans has spread like wildfire in the Balkan country, with many people coming to have their photo taken holding the cubs.
But engineer and animal-lover Miljan Milickovic was worried. He realised the cubs were on the way to become irreversibly domesticated and if nothing was done, their future could only translate into a zoo or a circus.
Activists are now racing against time to get the permits needed to move Masha and Brundo, the two cubs, to Greece or Romania, which, unlike Montenegro, have centres that specialise in dealing with orphaned bear cubs.
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