Baby bears rescued: New Mexico couple help cubs climb out of dumpster

Three black bear cubs went dumpster diving in a New Mexico neighbourhood. Once inside the dumpster, however, they couldn't get out.

A local couple came to their rescue.

Tom and Shirley Schenk of Ruidoso, New Mexico, heard bears crying through the night near their home a few weeks ago.

When the sun began to rise, the couple drove to the dumpster. They brought a ladder.

With the cubs' mother looking on, Tom backed the pickup truck to the dumpster. Shirley then carefully lowered the ladder into the dumpster, letting the cubs climb out on their own to reunite with their mother.

"I was not scared," Shirley told ABC News. "I had my husband driving and I knew we'd drop it and go … I would have never done that on foot."

Shirley says the bears — she sees black bears about twice a week in her area — know how to open the latch to the dumpster. The couple has used their ladder to rescue cubs two previous times.

"Any time I see them I just go the other direction on purpose, unless we're playing rescue ranger," she said of the bears in her neighbourhood.