The ABR cubs are often active during the night. We have proof from both of the wild enclosures.

Triplets wrestle in the dark, of course – it doesn’t matter what time it is, triplets wrestle.

Beignet comes by.
Beignet joins the wrestling match.
Just before 4:00 AM, the cubs started to forage.

Checking out the excavation project.
The cub protected the hole, keeping others away.

There must be something tasty in there. Insects, maybe?

Over in enclosure #2, all six cubs slept by the den (not in it).

A furry pile of cubs.
What was that? Something startled the cubs and they were instantly on alert.
Relief – no danger, so cubs relaxed.
Since they were awake, might as well forage.
Everyone foraged for their breakfast.

It is obvious now that the cubs are truly in hyperphagia. They are eating more and more often, as they fill their tummies and pack on pounds to get ready for winter. The curators are kept busy throwing food – peanuts, chestnuts, acorns, apples, muscadines, and more – over the fence into the enclosures. And the cubs are busy, as we can see, foraging and eating at all hours of the day and night.

He weighed about 2 pounds when he and his sister were rescued in Louisiana and brought to ABR. He has eaten well, and often – look at him now!

Boudreaux sleeps on the platform. He’s the picture of relaxation.
His good friend, Dandelion, sleeps nearby.
Boudreaux is in hyperphagia, like all bears, but that doesn’t keep him from sleeping
He wears a leaf on his backside – a fall fashion statement.
With his long tongue, Boudreaux can scoop up insects easily.

All of the cubs are becoming chonky and plump – after all, that’s the main job they have at ABR, and they are excelling at their work!

This post will demonstrate how dedicated the ABR curators really are, as they work to prepare Wild Enclosure #4 for the rowdy cubs that are currently in Wild Enclosure #2.

First, we’ll look at the cubs:

There they are, busily foraging and stuffing their tummies.
This shows the culvert traps as they look from inside the Acclimation Pen.

Meanwhile, in Enclosure #4:

Curators Ashley and Tom are working to get the enclosure ready.
They have added and improved ground dens for the cubs.
Curator Coy works on a new vertical den. He is mounting it on a stump.
Ashley is installing reinforcement strips from the inside.
It’s quite a project!
Coy attaches the new den to the stump.
Strips of bark make it look more realistic.
The finished den – what a masterpiece! Hope the cubs like it.

And over in Wild Enclosure #3:

Beignet and the Triplets sleep in their favorite spot at the base of a tree.
The four cubs forage. The cub on the left just plopped down and ate what he could find without moving.

Good thing that the curators aren’t in hyperphagia since they still need to exert plenty of energy to care for the chubbifying cubs. Wonder if/when the six cubs in Wild Enclosure #2 will enter the traps and get moved to the newly improved enclosure #4? Stay tuned…..

During hyperphagia bears are usually very lethargic, spending all their time eating as they pack on the pounds for the winter. It seems, however, that the ABR cubs haven’t read that memo. They continue to play and especially like to wrestle each other at all hours.

Little Dandelion is being pummeled by Chonky Boudreaux and Bentley.

As if two against one isn’t enough, some more join in the “No-rules Cub Wrestling.”
In the morning the cubs were foraging. They seem to have accepted the culvert traps as part of the scenery now.

Over in Wild Enclosure #3, Beignet and the Triplets were wrestling, also.

They attacked the hammock and each other.
Beignet moves on.
All three of the Triplets get in on the act.
The hammock adds a new dimension to the wrestling.
Pow-bat-smack-swat! There are no rules in cub wrestling.
Here’s a look at the hole the cubs have been digging. It’s getting deep! Quite a project for busy little cubs.

Despite the time spent wrestling and digging, the cubs are doing plenty of eating, too. We’re sure that they are putting on plenty of weight for the winter. The curators are kept busy providing all that food for them to find.

The smallest of the ABR cubs, Dandelion Bear makes up for her small size in cleverness and persistence. The curators have placed a couple of culvert traps in Wild Enclosure #2, which has been all but destroyed by the 6 hyperactive cubs. The plan is to trap the cubs and move them to Wild Enclosure #4, which still has greenery, undergrowth and saplings that have not been decimated. Of course, the appearance of new objects in their enclosure aroused the curiosity of the cubs. Little Dandelion bravely took on the challenge of investigating the strange new things.

The cubs were interested and curious about the culvert traps.
Dandelion accepted the challenge – she will figure it out.
We can almost hear the wheels turning in her head as she studies the strange object.
She pushes on the raised gate (raised so that cubs could enter to be trapped).
Uh-oh! Looks like Dandelion has managed to push the gate down, closing it.
She must feel proud of herself for mastering the strange object.
That takes care of that! Now what?
The cubs go back to foraging. Boudreaux shows off his chonky self.
All six cubs are eating. Dandelion is up on the tire bridge, pointed out by the arrow. Has she told the others about her mastery of the culvert trap?

We are sure that this is not what the curators expected when they placed the culvert traps in the enclosure. It will be interesting to see if they ever succeed in their plan to capture and move the cubs.

It is with heavy hearts that we tell you that Bear #298, Lyon Bear, the cub who arrived on October 9th after being hit by a car, has succumbed to his injuries. After being put into the Hartley House for rest and quiet, we had hope, but by the next day he did not seem to be improving, and indeed, stopped moving at all. UT Vet Dr. Ramsay, with his team, came to ABR to visit Lyon Bear, and it was decided that there was no hope for improvement. After notifying TWRA the decision was made to humanely euthanize the little cub. It is always painful when we lose a bear, but we can take some comfort in the fact that this little cub was safe and cared for on the last day of his short life.

Since we don’t have a photo of him before his accident, we post this photo of a released cub running free. We wish that Lyon’s story could have ended this way. Unfortunately, not every rescue story has a happy ending.

RIP, Lyon Bear.

Our last post featured the cubs in Wild Enclosure #2, so in the spirit of fairness, this time we’ll focus on the group in Wild Enclosure #3. You may recall that while Beignet Bear was recuperating from her surgery her enclosure mates, the Beary Triplets, became fixated on what has come to be known as the Forbidden Tree. They were fascinated and frustrated by the plastic sleeve around the tree that prevents them from climbing it. They haven’t given up, though, as today’s post will show.

One of the cubs resumes digging in the hole they started earlier.
Soon, all four cubs are back to the Forbidden Tree.
They gather around the Forbidden Tree. What are they plotting?
A persistent cub tries again, but still can’t climb the tree.
The cubs decided to give up – for now. But we’re sure they will try again.
Off they go, perhaps to make plans for their next attack on the Forbidden Tree.

Of course we know that it is highly unlikely that the cubs have these ideas in mind (that is way too much anthropomorphism) but it surely seems as though that could be the case as we review the sequence of photos. It’s fun to speculate, at least, and there is no denying that bears, including cubs, are very smart and clever animals.