The curators keep an eye on the cubs in the Cub Nursery by way of a baby monitor.  By watching and listening remotely, they do not have to enter the building and disturb the cubs unnecessarily.  In the morning, the curator enters the Nursery to clean up the pen and give the cubs their breakfast.  Here is a sequence of photos taken during breakfast a couple of days ago.

2 cubs in bed.

Cubs are still in their bed.

The curator put food into the pen for their breakfast.

Sweet Pea tastes

Sweet Pea tries out the blueberry-yogurt mixture.

Sugar tries the mixture

Sugar Bear wants some, too!

Sweet Pea tries lettuce

Sweet Pea samples the lettuce.

A note about the foods that are offered.  As you know, the goal is to care for the cubs in such a way that they will be able to return to the wild.  The curators strive to offer foods that are as natural and healthy as possible.  While it is true that bears in the wild would not have yogurt, cubs still require the nutrition of mother’s milk.  We use a formula, and because they are no longer receiving a bottle, the curators mix the formula with yogurt.  Blueberries (or any berries, for that matter) are very important in a bear’s diet.  In the spring, wild bears eat tender leaves and grasses, so the lettuce is a similar food.


After Cub #198 (Sweet Pea Bear) had been at ABR for just over a day, she and #197 (Sugar Bear) met.  The divided pen in the Cub Nursery had housed them in separate “rooms” until the curators opened the divider and the two little cubs were together.  The results are both funny and cute, as captured in this YouTube video.  Before the meeting takes place, Sugar Bear gives us a demonstration of some of the sounds a bear cub makes.  You will see that when the cubs play they do not make noise.  In the wild, unnecessary noise is not a good idea, as it can attract the attention of another animal that might be a predator.  Bear cubs, even when rowdy in their play, make little or no noise.

Last evening (April 12th) ABR received our 198th cub, and the second cub of 2014.  Another female, she came from Kentucky.  Curator Coy met the KY officer in Morristown TN, which is close to the TN/KY border, and received the little cub to bring her to ABR.

Coy receives cub

Curator Coy receives the KY cub.

As soon as he arrived at ABR, he carried the cub into the Cub Nursery.

into the Cub Nursery

Into the Cub Nursery.

He placed the cub, whom we named Sweet Pea, into the other half of Sugar Bear’s pen.  Like Sugar, Sweet Pea has her own stuffed bear as a temporary companion.

Sweet Pea in pen

Cub #198 – Sweet Pea – settles into pen.

The two cubs did some huffing and chomping – good wild bear behavior.

Sugar on one side and Sweet Pea on the other.

Sugar Bear seems to be curious about her new “room-mate.”

Soon they will be introduced to each other and will share the space.  For now, it’s best that they remain separated.  Sweet Pea stood up, to show Sugar Bear that she is a Big Bear.  This is typical behavior for bears – they always try to look bigger, to express dominance or to intimidate another animal.  Young cubs usually accept each other very quickly, and we can expect that Sugar and Sweet Pea will play together and enjoy each other’s company before long.

Sweet Pea stands, Sugar sits.

Sweet Pea stands up on her side of the pen.



We are always happy to see a cub display real wild bear behavior, so when Sugar Bear displayed appropriate wildness the other day, it pleased the curator.  Even though to some of us it seems as though it would be nice to cuddle and love the adorable cubs, the goal of ABR is to discourage any bonding between cubs and their temporary caretakers.  We must be sure they are not habituated to humans when they are released back into the wild.  Here are some photos of Sugar Bear acting wild!

Sugar charges

Sugar Bear charges!

Sugar's claws

Sugar’s claws are long and sharp.

Sugar sticks out tongue

Sugar Bear sticks out her tongue.

Sugar with open mouth.

She displays a “wild face.”


The other day we showed Sugar chewing on a cord and mentioned that she is teething, just like a baby.  The other day, when Curator Rick reached into the pen to feed her (at this stage, the curator must be this close, in order to give the cub her bottle) she bit his gloved finger.

Sugar bites glove

Sugar “bites the hand that feeds her.”

She doesn’t let go right away, so Rick was held captive, not wanting to lift her in the air while attached to his glove.

Holding onto the glove

She holds onto the glove.

In a few moments, however, sleep overcame her, and she let go as she dozed off.  Then he was released from her grasp.

Nap time.

Nap time.

Here is a photo of the pen that Sugar Bear is living in for a short time, while she is in the Cub Nursery.  The pen was constructed for us last year, thanks to donations from many friends.  The photo was taken outside the facility where it was fabricated.  It is a 2-part pen.  Sugar is in one side, and when the curator needs to clean her space, she can move into the other side, through a sliding partition.  Thus, she does not have to be physically lifted from one space to the other.

Sugar Bear's pen

The pen in the Cub Nursery


A few days ago, our curator captured Sugar Bear on video.  This was April 9th, just 5 days after she was rescued and brought to ABR.  Enjoying watching our baby bear cub in action here.  Keep checking – we have more news to report!

Cub #197, Sugar Bear, is learning new things.  This photo, taken by Curator Coy, show her actually lapping from a bowl!  That is what our curators are working toward – the time when she can lap her formula instead of taking it from a bottle.  She has not yet lapped the formula, preferring to stick with the bottle, but the fact that she lapped Pedialyte shows that she can learn to lap the formula also.  Pedialyte is given to cubs to keep them hydrated.

Sugar laps from bowl.

Sugar Bear laps her Pedialyte.

In the next photo, Sugar Bear stands up and seems to be interested in the lock on her cage.  Cubs are naturally very curious, so this shows that she is feeling better and is able to show interest in things around her.

Sugar stands

Sugar checks out the lock.

There was a cord in the cage, and she became interested in that, too.  Here she chews on it – using it as a teething toy.  Like a baby, a cub has to chew to cut its teeth.

Sugar chews on cord

Sugar finds a “chew toy.”

The last photo shows Sugar Bear looking out of her cage.

Sugar Bear in corner of cage.

What is cuter than a bear cub? Nothing!


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