We posted that the two ABR cubs, Otto and Rollo, are good friends until it’s time to eat.  Today we have photos of a mealtime so you can picture what happens when the food is served.  Fine dining maybe not, but for bear cubs any food is “fine dining,” and they attack it with gusto.


The left arrow points to Rollo’s paw near Otto and his bowl. The right arrow points to the third bowl of food.

The curators provide an extra bowl of food at each meal, so there is plenty for both cubs.


The leashes on the bowls allow the curators to remove them when empty.

The bowls are slipped under the plastic sheathing and removed the same way, so the cubs don’t see humans.  The curators are absolutely silent, as well, so cubs do not become accustomed to human voices.

Summitt was spotted in a tree in the Wild Enclosure.  See if you can see him.


If it weren’t for the arrow, we might miss seeing the yearling.

An enlarged section of the photo shows Summitt.  The enlargement makes the photo blurry, but Summitt is easier to spot.


That rather blurry black shape in the tree is our yearling bear!

That is it for this post.  We’ll be back again with more news and photos of the three bears when we have them.

As we have reported, the two cubs, Otto and Rollo are getting along well.  In fact they are rarely apart – until time to eat.  Then each cub guards his food bowl to make sure the other cub doesn’t get any of his food.  Of course, the curators provide plenty of food for each cub, but they are true to the competitive nature of bears.


Otto Bear is not usually this far away from Rollo.

Otto and Rollo

The two cubs have become “best buds.”

However, when it’s mealtime, they are very protective of their own food.  Bears and cubs are competitive and this is the area where competition plays a role in our cubs’ lives.


Each cub cleans out his bowl very quickly.

As soon as the meal is over (and it doesn’t take very long) the two cubs return to their platform as if there had been no interruption.

Otto and Rollo

Back on the platform, they sit side by side as if nothing had changed.

We are happy that Otto and Rollo Bear are friends.  It is much better for both of them to be with another bear.  It will be fun to watch them after they are released into the Wild Enclosure and have to learn to forage for their food.

The two four-month-old cubs are getting along quite well.  There is plenty of room in the Acclimation Pen for each one to be in his own space, but they seem to prefer being close together, or at least nearby most of the time.

Otto and Rollo

Otto and Rollo Bear in their Acclimation Pen.


Otto heads over to where Rollo was sitting.


Rollo is much smaller than Otto (about half the size) but he holds his own.

Otto and Rollo

Otto and Rollo Bear being friendly to each other.

The only time there is any potential problem is at mealtime.  Little bear cubs are very possessive of their food sources.  This is true in the wild as well as at ABR.  The curators provide plenty for both cubs.


The two cubs are eating lots of berries as well as crushed Mazuri Bear Diet pellets.

We reported that Rollo had given Otto a swat when he tried to take some of Rollo’s food.  It seems that the lesson was learned, but the curators monitor the cubs at feeding time to make sure that both are getting enough to eat.  That is their job at ABR – to eat and get chubby.

Appalachian Bear Rescue has arbitrarily chosen January 22nd as the “official birthday” of all of our cubs.  It’s arbitrary, but the date is in the middle of the potential birthdates for bear cubs – between mid-January and mid-February.

Our two cubs – Otto and Rollo – are four months old now, and our yearling, Summitt Bear, is sixteen months old!

The cubs are getting along very well together in their Acclimation Pen.  They usually stay close together.  The only times there may be disagreements are at feeding time.  Rollo, though much smaller than Otto, set the larger cub straight when he tried to take some of Rollo’s food – he gave Otto a swat!  Now they seem to be able even to eat next to each other peacefully.

Otto - Rollo

Otto and Rollo share the platform in the Acclimation Pen.

Summitt Bear has reached the age at which family break-up occurs.  This is when mother bears send their yearlings off to live their lives as wild bears, without the protection of their mother, who is getting ready to breed again.  In the wild it is a scary time for these small, young bears.  Yearlings are the bears who get into trouble most often as they try to make their way and find a territory.  They are the lowest in the bears’ hierarchy.

Summitt Bear is content to be alone, as he would be in the wild.  He is making good progress and will be ready for release before too much longer.  In the wild, a yearling and the cubs would never meet; ABR keeps them separated, also.  We have seen how hard it is for the curators to photograph the elusive yearling who spends much of his time hidden in underbrush.  Curator Janet was able to capture a photo of Summitt resting in a tree during a rainstorm.


Summitt Bear hangs out (literally) in a tree.

Little bears seem to like to be up in trees when it’s raining.  They feel safer there.  To us, it would seem more sensible to retreat to a culvert den or to go into thick underbrush, but we aren’t bears and don’t think the way they do.


We posted that Rollo and Otto Bear were sharing quarters at ABR.  You may recall that when they were first introduced a couple of days ago Otto was less than enthusiastic about his new roommate.  Rollo, on the other hand, was anxious to follow Otto and do what he did.  Curator Coy decided to move the two cubs into an Acclimation Pen, and the dynamics changed.  They are doing things together and seem to enjoy each other’s company.  This is Otto’s first contact (other than his time in the den, of course) with another member of his species.  For Rollo, it is no doubt comforting to once again have another bear to share his daily experiences.

Rollo and Otto

Rollo and Otto on the shelf in their pen.

Rollo seems eager to get out to the trees he can see outside the Acclimation Pen.


Rollo looks out into the Wild Enclosure.

Otto is intrigued by the outdoor sights.

Rollo and Otto

Rollo watches Otto, who is looking out into the Wild Enclosure.


Otto by the Cub Tub. The two cubs have been seen in the tub together.

It seems that these two little orphaned bear cubs will be able to forge a friendship, even if it is temporary.  That is a good thing, as they will learn from each other.  Rollo, with his former wild experiences, will have a lot to teach the larger Otto.

In our last post we showed photos of Otto Bear in The Cub House and Rollo Bear in the Cub Nursery.  Curator Coy observed that Rollo was showing stress about his confinement to such a small pen after living his life so far out-of-doors.  The decision was made to move him into the other room of The Cub House.

Otto didn’t quite know what to make of this new little character.  He was used to stuffed toys that stayed put.  This little guy followed him wherever he went!


Otto went up the climbing plank with Rollo right behind him.


The two cubs sniffed each other.


Otto climbed up the stump. Rollo was close by.

We apologize for the poor quality of the photos – they were taken through the one-way glass in the door to The Cub House, which interferes with picture clarity, but at least we can get an idea (albeit a bit fuzzy) of how the first meeting unfolded.  We’re glad there was no hostility displayed.  Otto’s reaction might be described as mild annoyance, but Rollo will surely win him over.  Although Otto is twice the size of Rollo due to his enriched diet at ABR, Rollo is a healthy little cub the same age and is a good size for a wild cub.

We’ll see how their relationship develops in coming days.  It’s far better for them to be with another cub than to be a single, as Otto has been until now.

Big changes are about to take place at ABR.  Otto Bear has had the entire Cub House – both rooms – to himself, but that’s about to change.  Rollo Bear is going to move in with Otto and the curators are preparing to receive him.  Ever alert, Otto is curious about the proceedings.


Otto in Room 2 of The Cub House. What’s going on in Room 1?

The curator finished cleaning Room 1 and Otto returned when the door was opened.


Otto goes back into Room 1 and, as always, notices changes that were made.


He has to investigate everything.

The door was left open, and Otto went back to Room 2 to eat.


We can say this for Otto – he has a great appetite!


Otto doesn’t know it, but he is about to get a roommate!

In the Cub Nursery, Rollo is showing signs of stress about his confinement.  He was in the wild until he was rescued, and does not like being housed in the small pen.


Rollo climbs the walls, literally, of his pen.


He does not look like a happy cub!

He lets the curator know of his displeasure by huffing and blowing like a big bear.


If we understood bear, we’d probably hear him say, “let me out!”

Our last post was a video in which Rollo was vocalizing loudly.  We hope you looked at it, because if you did you can imagine the sound Rollo is making.  Rollo will be moving in with Otto and it will be very interesting to see how each of them reacts to the other.  Stay tuned!