Each of the Wild Enclosures has a cub-sized pool for drinking and swimming.  Bears are excellent swimmers, and in the wild they enjoy the water for helping them get rid of insect pests and for cooling off on hot summer days.  The weather has turned hot and our cubs are investigating their pool.  While Ken LaValley was at the facility on the day that he filmed Cubs #209 and 210 (Juliette and Summer) he was able to take several photos of three cubs in the pool.  Well, not quite – you’ll se that Bonnie Blue and Ridgeway thoroughly enjoy swimming, but Marvin stays on the sidelines, not getting into the pool, although he put his head completely underwater.  The photos are great – enjoy them!

Marvin, Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway

Marvin takes a drink. Bonnie Blue and Ridgeway swim

Marvin, Bonnie, Ridgeway

Marvin’s paws are in, but he stays out.

Bonnie Blue and Ridgeway sink down a little deeper.

Bonnie Blue and Ridgeway sink down a little deeper.


Marvin takes another drink .


How can he resist when the others are having such fun?

After the “pool party” ended, Bonnie Blue did what any of us might do – she lay back and relaxed.  Looks like a swimmer at the beach, doesn’t she?

Bonnie Blue

Bonnie Blue relaxing after her swim.

It’s good to see the cubs using their pool. Perhaps Marvin will join in next time.


Although Appalachian Bear Rescue is always glad to be able to help cubs in need, we are sad when bear cubs become orphaned.  We received 3 sibling cubs a couple of days ago, 2 females and a male.  They are healthy and average-sized for cubs in the wild.  Cub #210, nicknamed Pansy, weighed 13.5 pounds.  Her sister Cub #211, nicknamed Petal,  weighed in at 16.5 pounds, and their brother Cub #212, nicknamed Peanut, weighed 17.5 pounds.  They were tagged and spent a very short time in the acclimation pen that adjoins the Wild Enclosure where Juliette and Summer are residing.  As soon as the curator determined that they were doing well and had completely recovered from sedation, the door to that Wild Enclosure was lifted and they were free to go.  As might be expected, since they were with their mother for about six months, they were only too ready to get back into a familiar habitat.  Our photographer, Ken LaValley, was there to document their first introduction to the Wild Enclosure.

Cub #210 (Pansy Bear) was the first one to step outside.


Pansy ventures out.

Pansy goes up

Up the nearest tree she goes!

Next out was her brother, Cub #@11 (Peanut Bear).  He went to the tree, but peeked out from behind it before climbing up to join his sister.

Peanut hid behind a tree.

Peanut hid behind a tree.

The last to emerge was #212 (Petal Bear).  She posed for the photographer before climbing the tree to join the rest of the family.


Petal Bear waited at the base of the tree.


Petal climbs

Petal quickly climbed to join her brother and sister.

With all three cubs safely in the tree, Ken showed us the differences between his camera and the one that the curators use.  We think the curators do a great job, but it’s obvious that the professional equipment makes a big difference in the quality of the photos!  Thank you Ken LaValley!

Two cameras

Two cameras.

We have some photos of the newest cubs – Juliette (#208) and Summer (#209).  They were taken from a distance, as all of the photos are, and so they aren’t recognizable.  They are doing what bear cubs do – hanging out in trees in their own Wild Enclosure.

Juliette or Summer

Juliette or Summer? We can’t tell which.

Juliette or Summer

Juliette or Summer.

In the other Wild Enclosure, where the other five cubs are staying, we are able to recognize these photos of Noli Bear and Carter Bear.

Carter Bear

Carter Bear in a sunny spot.

Carter still keeps to himself, not interacting with any of the other cubs.


Noli Bear likes being in a tree.

Noli has not made contact with any of the other cubs, either.  It may be that they will become pals after a while, or it may be that Noli and Carter are “loners.”  Bears live a pretty solitary life.  As a rule, the only groups you might see are a mother bear with her cubs or yearlings.

Noli is very comfortable, even standing in a tree.

Noli is very comfortable, even standing in a tree.

We have to show you once again how far away the curator is when he or she photographs the cubs.  You can barely see a bear cub in the trees.

Curator's view

This was the curator’s view with the naked eye. We can hardly see a bear. Can you?


In our last post we showed some photos of Woody as he changed during the two months he was at Appalachian Bear Rescue.  We promised to share the photos of his workup to get him ready for the release.  First up is a picture of Woody Bear back in the acclimation pen, where he was lured by strategically placed treats.  It is much easier for the wildlife officers to safely sedate a bear that is in the acclimation pen than one still out in the Wild Enclosure.


Woody Bear in acclimation pen.

After he was sedated, Woody was taken to the workup area.

Woody to workup

He is transferred to the workup table.

Curators Coy and Janet helped the wildlife officers as they followed the procedures for a release.  The next photos show the materials they used.

Worlup kit

The Bear Workup kit.

Woody's file

Woody’s file.

log for data

The log on which data was recorded.

Next, we see how the officers and curators work up the bear.  Important data are recorded on the log.


Measurements are taken and recorded.

Janet records

Statistics are taken, which Curator Janet records on the log.

When Woody Bear arrived in May he weighed 58.5 pounds.  At release, his weight was 117 pounds!  He nearly doubled his weight in two months.

Eyes are covered.

His eyes are covered to prevent them from drying out..

As a final touch, Curator Janet trimmed his “mohawk” so he would not be so easily recognizable when released.  It probably would have been rubbed off eventually.  Woody was transferred to the officer’s truck for transport to the release site.

Woody's "mohawk" is trimmed.

Woody’s “mohawk” is trimmed.

cold packs

Cold packs beside him will keep him from overheating.

 he is waking up.

Into the truck. He is already waking up.

Curator Coy wishes Woody well as he returns to the wild.

ready to go.

Goodbye and good luck, Woody Bear!

A reminder of Woody a few days before he left us – he had become a very reclusive wild bear, as he was meant to be!


Woody being wild in the Wild Enclosure.

And so Woody Bear’s stay at ABR ends.  We are proud of the progress he made, and feel sure that he will remain wild and stay away from humans.




As you know, Woody Bear is a yearling that was brought to ABR to relearn wild behavior, after he was hanging around an elementary school’s dumpsters.  That was in May, and there were no berries or good wild foods for him.  He had recently been dispersed by his mother during the “family break up” that occurs in the spring.  The officers who brought Woody wanted ABR to keep him in a Wild Enclosure until there was sufficient food in the wild.  Here is a picture of Woody when he arrived on May 20, 2015.

Woody in May

Woody Bear in May.

It was hard to photograph Woody, as he stayed hidden in the underbrush or in a tree.  This photo was taken in June.


Woody climbed trees.

In late June, Woody Bear appeared to have a “mohawk,” a strip of winter fur running down his back that did not come off.  Bears usually rub their winter fur off during the spring and summer.  This strip of fur was stubborn.

Woody with mohawk

Woody with his “mohawk.”

In the next post we will show the process that a bear goes through on Release Day.  It is a big day for the bear and for the curators!

ABR has received two more orphaned cubs – Cub #208 nicknamed Juliette, and Cub #209 nicknamed Summer.  They are sisters and are the same age as our other cubs – about 6 months old now.  Curator Coy put them in an acclimation pen for observation when they first arrived.

2 cubs in pen

Juliette and Summer in the acclimation pen.

It was obvious they wanted out, immediately!

cub at the top of pen

One cub has climbed to the top of the pen.

The door was opened into the Wild Enclosure.

Cub looks out

One cub looks out.

She stood up to get a better view and sniff of the new terrain.

Cub stands up.

One cub stands up to see and smell better.

She ventures out of the pen.

She goes out.

Out she goes!

Cub hurries away.

She hurries away from the pen.

Her sister follows her lead.  Soon they are both happy to be outside, and they head for the trees.

Both cubs are out

Both cubs are back in a habitat that seems like home to them.

These two cubs were in the wild longer than any of our other resident cubs, so they are wilder than the others were when they arrived.  The were released into their own enclosure, rather than into the same one that our other five cubs share.


Our last post showed the procedures followed to make Noli ready to move out into the Wild Enclosure with the other 4 cubs.  We left her at the open door of the acclimation pen.  Although she has been pacing and showing eagerness to get out of the pen, when it came down to it she wasn’t in such a hurry, after all.

Noli looked right

She looked to her right.

She looked left

She looked to her left.

She sat down to think about what to do next.

Noli doesn't hurry

She was in no hurry.

Finally she decided to take a small step outside.

She took a step

She stepped out tentatively.

Noli steps out

She actually stepped out into the Wild Enclosure!

And so she joined the other cubs in the Wild Enclosure.  We will be interested to see how she reacts to them and they react to her, when they meet.


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