Today we have a video – the Facebook Live update on our two bears, Tartan the yearling and Taco the cub. Joining Curator Tori for the update are Head Curator Coy and Assistant Curator Bailey. The update includes photos and video of both bears as well as information about what is going on in the bear world – for example, the soft mast in the wild that will soon be ripening, making it possible to release our yearling back into his wild habitat in the national park. Click here to see and hear the curators and enjoy their information about Tartan and Taco Bear.

Both Tartan, our yearling, and Taco, our COY (Cub of the Year) are eating well and growing like weeds (or should we say, like bears?) Out in the wild enclosure, Tartan Bear finds all the tasty and nutritious foods that the curators throw over the fence for him. He is a very good forager!

Tartan is looking good, though he still has some winter fur that he needs to get rid of.

He still likes to get wet in his drinking tub, although he almost doesn’t fit now!

Meanwhile, Taco Bear zooms around his rooms in the Hartley House like a small tornado. It’s hard to capture him on the camera because he’s constantly in motion.

There is Taco, peeking out from his climbing structure for a few moments of relative stillness.

Like a human toddler, Taco is teething and chews on everything!

You may be interested in learning about the contrasts between American black bears (like Tartan and Taco) and the brown or grizzly bears who also live in the US, though in a different part of the country. Brown bears’ habitat is in the western US: in Alaska and the Rocky Mountain states primarily. In coordination with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, a program is being presented that is free to attend for anyone who is interested.

This should be a very interesting and educational presentation.

Since the program will be recorded, you probably can view it later, at a time that is convenient for you. Check it out!

Tartan Bear has shown that peanuts are his fave. But he’s not alone in that opinion. Several other feathery and furry residents of the Wild Enclosure who share the space with him, enjoy the bounty of peanuts right along with Tartan, as you will see in this short video. Click here to enjoy the snack fest.

Taco has been at ABR for ten days now, having arrived on Cinco de Mayo. The curators offer a variety of foods to see which one(s) a little cub prefers. Turns out that Taco’s favorite is yogurt! He has gained a pound in just over a week, and yogurt (full fat version) is undoubtedly one reason. So today we have a short video of Taco Bear slurping a yogurt smoothie from his bowl. He cleaned it out! That took place late at night. In the morning, the little cub woke up playing with his Not a Polar Bear and trilling his pleasure. Trilling is the happy sound that young cubs make when nursing, or when they are extremely contented. Click here to see – and hear – Taco Bear.

It rained and Tartan Bear, our yearling in the wild enclosure, spent the night in the tree, as is customary for little bears, who feel safest there. When the rain stopped, he came down to eat.

Tartan looked for peanuts, his favorite snack. His sensitive nose can find them even in the tangled undergrowth.

The camera caught him in the middle of eating a peanut.

It feels good to scratch an itch! Tartan sat on the resting platform.

Later, Tartan took the Tire Bridge to get to his sleeping tree.

And off to bed he goes. G’night, Tartan!

There is Taco Bear; tired from his eating and playing, he sleeps on his big stuffed “mama” bear.

Good bear, Taco – he’s always a member of the clean bowl club!

We can see that our two bears are doing well in terms of their growth and development. Watch for new updates to come.

Our last post was an update on our two bears – yearling Tartan Bear and cubby Taco Bear, presented by Executive Director, Dana Dodd and Head Curator Coy Blair. Curator Tori, who usually does the Facebook Live posts, is taking a vacation, so Coy and Dana filled in. They are doing that again today, and you’ll enjoy their commentary. Coy gives good explanations of the thinking behind some of the decisions they make regarding various aspects of bear care. Our next post will be the standard model with photos and descriptions.

Click here to see (and hear, in the case of Taco Bear) how our bears are coming along.

Today we have a special Facebook Live for you. Executive Director Dana Dodd and Head Curator Coy Blair presented the program because Curator Tori is on vacation. It’s good to hear Coy’s explanation of various scenes and of the behavior shown by yearling Tartan Bear and Cub of the Year Taco Bear. As always, the footage showing the bears is most enjoyable. Seeing Taco react to some new things in his room in the Hartley House is really humorous, as he seems to be afraid of the enrichment items at first, and did just what we might expect of a bigger, older bear.

Both of the bears are making good progress and doing well, and we can continue to enjoy their growth and development. Click here to watch the video.

Taco the bear cub is busy in his Hartley House rooms. It’s amazing how hard he works to accomplish a goal. This story began during the night, when we find Taco sleeping, as usual, on his “Not a Polar Bear.”

Taco seems very comfortable on top of his bear. We can’t help but wonder if it seems like his mama bear, even though it is not a living creature.

He woke up in the middle of the night, and decided he needed a bowl in his bed.

He was determined, and kept at the task.

Oof! It was a big job for a tiny little bear!

But persistence pays off – Taco got the bowl over the side!

Success! Mission accomplished – Taco went back to sleep.

Meanwhile, Tartan Bear remained on his branch in the tree.

He was right where he was yesterday, when we last saw him.

This was an interesting contrast in behavior, between the hard-working cub and the lazy yearling. What is next? No telling with young bears.

It’s been a few days, but we thought you would like to see how three-month-old Taco Bear did at his intake exam at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. Spoiler alert: he did well!

Look how small he looks, surrounded by the vet students!
Blood was taken, fur sample was snipped, he was really checked out thoroughly from head to toe.

They discovered that Taco has a set of baby teeth already!

Back in the Hartley House, Taco slept on his Not a Polar Bear.

The little cub is eating well, eliminating properly, and seems to be headed in the right direction to grow and thrive at ABR!

It was a very rainy day. Cubby Taco Bear is inside the Hartley House, so the rain has no effect on him. Yearling Tartan is outside in Wild Enclosure #2, and as usual he chose to remain on his favorite branch in his favorite tree to sleep during the storm.

Next morning, he was still there, asleep.

Meanwhile, Taco Bear is in his safe, dry room in Hartley House . . .

Taco slept on his “Not a Polar Bear.” The night vision camera renders the black bear as white, hence the polar bear reference.

Taco seems to have bonded with his big, stuffed bear.

Even when Taco is enhanced to show him better in daylight mode, it’s hard to see him next to the black stuffed bear.

His plumbing is working well, and his mama taught him to relieve himself outside the den area.

For such a tiny little cub, Taco Bear is showing some good skills already. We are sorry that he lost his mama, but we’re looking forward to watching him grow and develop at ABR. Stay tuned.