Not long ago we shared a tour of Enclosures #1 and 2, in which Curator Quanah joined Curator Janet to show how the two enclosures have been readied for this year’s bears. Today we have a tour of the remaining enclosures – #3 and #4. This time Curator Matthew joins Janet for the tour.

These two enclosures and their Acclimation Pens adjoin The Cub House, an earlier version of the Hartley House in Enclosures #1 and 2. As was true of the first enclosures, the work that has been done improves the habitat for the cubs and yearlings yet to be admitted. Curator Matthew explains the features of the pens and the enclosures, giving us a good idea of what has been done and how the improvements will enhance the experience for the bears.

Click here to “take the tour” of Wild Enclosures #3 and #4.

The segment for today was filmed just one week after the last one, but as you’ll see, the den is getting very crowded, and the cubs are showing that they need more room! It’s no wonder that it is titled “Beary-go-round.” Although ABR is still bear-less, the bears in east Tennessee are being seen regularly now, and it’s likely that there will be a needy cub or yearling very soon, so don’t go away! Click here to watch the third and final chapter of the series from 2013. Enjoy!

Our last post was a link to a video taken inside a black bear’s den in 2013 by the North American Bear Center’s Bear Study Group. As we said, the only way we can imagine what a mother bear is going through at this time of year is to actually see the activity in the confined space of the den. Today’s segment took place just ten days after that first peek and we can see that the cubs are becoming more rambunctious. This is the scene that is replicated throughout the country (including in TN) wherever there are female bears who have given birth. The cubs are now about two months old and are ready to go! Click here to watch the second installment in the story.

While we wait for ABR to admit a cub or yearling, we thought you might enjoy seeing what goes on inside a den with a mother bear and two cubs. This video was taken in April, 2013. Lily the black bear was filmed as part of a study by the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. You will notice that there was snow on the ground even in April. You’ll also notice that, although there is sound with the video, the cubs make little or no sound. We have seen at ABR that bear cubs play silently, the reason being that they do not want to attract attention to themselves from possible predators. There are two more videos, each one a few days later, so it gives us an idea of what goes on inside a typical den with a mother bear who wants to sleep and two cubs who are becoming rambunctious. Click here to watch the action. Then come back for the next chapter in the story.

No, ABR doesn’t have a new cub. We are still “bear-less,” since all of the cubs (from TN, AL, and SC) are back with bear families. But as we have told you, during this time the curators keep busy working in the enclosures, to prepare them for the arrival of the ABR Class of 2021.

Curator Janet and Curator Quanah made a short video of the changed appearance of these two enclosures that really took a beating last year. The two curators take us on a short tour of the enclosures, with Curator Quanah explaining what was done and why. Since we can’t post photos of cubs, we thought you might enjoy seeing how things are shaping up at the facility. Click here to watch and learn about the enclosure work and how it has prepared the two enclosures for new residents.

After just three days at ABR, our little South Carolina cub, Wofford Bear, has returned to his home state to meet his new bear family. Although it seemed unlikely, the SCDNR officers were diligently seeking a potential foster mother for the little cub. One was found – a denning female who had two cubs of her own, all healthy.

Wofford Bear at ABR just before he returned to SC.

Time was of the essence, since some mother bears are already leaving their dens with cubs in tow. It was imperative that Wofford’s trip to SC be made as quickly as possible.

Curators Matthew and Coy get Wofford ready for travel.

TWRA Wildlife Biologist Dan Gibbs was designated as the driver to take Wofford to meet his new family.

TWRA Wildlife Biologist Dan Gibbs signed the transfer papers before taking the cub to South Carolina.
Off they go! The truck carrying Wofford leaves ABR.

The wildlife officers reported that when they reached the den site, the sow accepted Wofford immediately, and before they left they observed him nursing alongside his new siblings. They could hear the three cubs trilling as they nursed. It is especially gratifying to see Wofford accepted into a new bear family, because, as a solo cub at ABR he tried hard to get his stuffed playmates to interact with him, without success. We are sure that he will find willing wrestling partners within his new family! Good luck, Wofford (and your new family). We hope you live a long and healthy life in the wild!

We’ve said before, for a cub to be raised by a mother bear is the best possible outcome for a little bear. Thanks to the diligence of wildlife officers in each state, ABR has been exceptionally fortunate this year in fostering the cubs who have come to us.

The curators are learning the habits, likes, and dislikes of Wofford Bear, our South Carolina cub. Although the SCDNR is still trying to locate a foster mother for him, as time goes by it becomes more difficult, and more likely that this little cub will spend the next few months in Tennessee.

One of the things they have learned about Wofford is that he likes to be fed outside of his pen, supported by a curator sitting on the floor. He wants his bottle nipple warmed up! Wofford seems to alternate between taking a lot of his bear milk replacement formula at one feeding, and much less at the next feeding. He still needs help with his plumbing, as we showed yesterday in the photo of Curator Coy wiping him with a warmed wet wipe to stimulate him to eliminate after eating. Wofford likes to explore his pen, although he is still pretty wobbly on his feet. He will become stronger as he practices his skills.

Curator Janet demonstrates the preferred feeding method for Wofford.


After his feeding, Wofford ventures into the “Cub-Eating Cave,” so named because it causes cubs to disappear inside it.
It seems that Wofford has been devoured by the cave, causing it to belch. Soon, it will spit him out.
Wofford’s revenge for being eaten is to climb on top of the cave and squish it.

We’ll watch as Wofford Bear continues his development for as long as he resides at ABR. It’s always interesting to see how each individual cub tackles their growth and development. Each one is a little different.

We posted about the arrival of Bear #332, Wofford Bear from South Carolina, who arrived on March 27th. The SC wildlife officers are trying to find a foster mom for him, but the window of opportunity is closing. Once a sow brings her cubs out of the den, there is no possibility of introducing a new cub into her family. However, they are trying. As of now, the 5.4 pound cub is residing in the ABR Cub Nursery, where he is doing well.

He takes his bear milk replacement formula and is fed every four hours, around the clock. He also likes to play with the toys that are provided for his enjoyment and comfort.

This closeup shows his cute little face and his eyes that are starting to change from the blue of a tiny cub to the brown of a “real bear.”
Here we can see the Cubby Stuff (aka toys) and his hiding place, the Cubby Cave, which he lies on top of rather than inside.
After his feeding, the curator cleans out his pen. (They have quite a bit of laundry to do).
Curator Janet with Wofford Bear. He is learning to stand up and moves around unsteadily.
He tires easily and takes a nap.
The next morning, Coy is on duty. He has fed the cub and now stimulates him to eliminate waste, by using a warm wet wipe. A mother bear would lick the cub to accomplish the same thing.
Soon after his feeding, Wofford goes to sleep again.

We have no way of knowing how long Wofford Bear will stay with us at ABR, but we will enjoy him for as long as we can. So keep checking to see if he’s still here.

On March 27, 2021 a bear cub from South Carolina: a two-month-old male cub-of-the-year weighing 5.4 pounds arrived at ABR. A little boy found the cub by the side of a road after a severe storm. The South Carolina DNR officers waited as long as they could, to see if his mother would return, but when she didn’t, they had to take action.

Curator Janet took the cub to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine for his intake exam, and then transported him back to the ABR Cub Nursery. Following the trend of naming cubs for colleges, this little guy is named Wofford, in honor of the college of that name in SC.

We’ll post more info as it becomes available. The chances are that it is now too late to find a surrogate mother for Wofford, and he will remain at ABR until he’s old enough for release.

ABR welcomed Bear #332, Wofford Bear from South Carolina.

It looks like we will be sharing news of this little cub and his progress. Stay tuned.

We are all waiting until new cubs or yearlings arrive at ABR (although the fact that none have recently is a good thing as it means that they are not in trouble) so we thought you might enjoy a video of the group of 2018 cubs we called the “Six Pack” because they did everything together. This sequence, accompanied by lively music from Boogertown Gap, will help to pass the waiting hours and days. Click here to watch the cubs and enjoy their activity, “Follow the Leader to get to the food.” The cubs were Viola, Willow, Bosco, Ruff, Tumble, and Cherry. We hope that all of them are enjoying their wild lives and are staying safe.