The curators report that the cubs in this enclosure have become “pals.”  They forage together, wrestle together, and generally get along well.  In Wild Enclosure 4, all the cubs except for Carter interact quite regularly now.  He still maintains his distance and is content to be alone.  Of course this habit will serve him well when he is released into the wild, since he will be living a solitary life.

Here are some photos of three of the cubs in Wild Enclosure 3, starting with a sequence of photos of Peanut.


Peanut, full frontal view, on stump.

As if posing, or having I.D. photos made, he turns to show his profile.


Peanut in profile view.

Finally, he decides to take a nap.

Peanut sleeps

Peanut takes a nap on the stump.

Two other cubs in Peanut’s enclosure interact in a different way.  Juliette (above) seems to have something to say to Ellis.

Juliette and Ellis

Juliette looks down to where Ellis is.

To be sure he knows she is there, she makes a move forward.

Juliette and Ellis

Juliette goes closer to Ellis.

There is never a dull moment or a boring day at ABR with thirteen growing cubs onsite!

Here is a video of three of the ABR cub residents.  Ellis arrived (with his brother Charley B) on August 7th.  He has not been seen as much as some of the earlier arrivals.  Ellis and Charley B are currently the largest cubs at ABR.  He is seen walking through the undergrowth in his Wild Enclosure.  We also see Marvin and Sola in this video.  They both were filmed in trees, where they spend a great deal of their time.  Click here to see these three cubs in action.

In this post we see two of the thirteen cubs in residence at ABR.  These two are Marvin (Cub #204) and Bonnie Blue (Cub #202) sitting together in a tree.  You may remember that when they were younger, back in April, they did not get along so harmoniously.  It is obvious that they are buddies now.

Marvinb and Bonnie Blue

Marvin and Bonnie Blue Bear share a tree.

The cubs are growing.  They are becoming healthy young bears.

In our last post we shared some information about hyperphagia, the “feeding frenzy” that hits all bears from late summer through fall.  The ABR cubs, like their wild counterparts, are spending more time foraging and are eating ever larger quantities of food in response to bodily signals telling them to prepare for winter and hibernation.  In addition to increased food intake, our cubs (and wild bears) drink more water.  During hibernation bears do not eat or drink, so the urgency to eat and drink more seems very understandable.

Today we have photos that show some of the cubs in Wild Enclosure 4 gathering at the Cubby pool to drink.  First, we see Bonnie Blue making her way to the pool.

Bonnie Blue

Bonnie Blue comes toward the Cubby pool.

Bonnie Blue drinks

She starts to drink from the pool.

Marvin shows up at the pool.

Marvin joins her

Marvin comes to join her at the pool.

Ridgeway is nearby.  These three cubs have formed a bond and are almost always together or near to each other.

Ridgeway, too

Ridgeway isn’t far off.

The cubs come and go as they wish.  Marvin may have drunk his fill for now.

3 cubs at pool

Marvin moves away.

It will be interesting for us to watch the cubs as they deal with their hyperphagia.  It is a challenge for the curators to provide enough food for the hungry cubs without over-feeding them.  We want them to be of healthy weights, but not obese when they are ready for release.

If you are a confirmed ursaphile you know about hyperphagia.  If not, let us explain.  Hyperphagia is an eating frenzy that hits all bears around this time of year.  They eat more and more, increasing their weight to be ready for hibernation.  This condition is observed in wild bears, young or old, and our ABR cubs are beginning to show the effects now.  It is an instinctive behavior and doesn’t have to be taught/learned.  It just happens.  Today we have some photos that show some of the cubs in eating mode.  They are spending more time eating and are eating greater quanties than just a few weeks ago.  Their bodies are telling them to add weight so they will be able to last through the winter.  Believe it or not, an adult bear may eat 20,000 or more calories a day during hyperphagia, and may spend 20 hours out of 24 eating!  Our cubs won’t eat that much, but the curators are noticing more focused eating behavior.  They have increased the amount of food thrown over the fencing into the Wild Enclosures, but are careful to scatter it in different areas and at different times of the day, so that the cubs don’t expect a “food delivery” to be at the same time and place each day.

Peanuts are a popular item on the menu, and the first photo shows Marvin Bear studying a peanut prior to eating it.


Marvin has found peanuts that he will eat.

In the same Wild Enclosure with Marvin, Noli is seen foraging for food.


Noli is eating more these days.

Another resident of this Wild Enclosure is Carter.  He still forages alone, as in this photo.


Carter is finding and eating food to make him gain weight.

Another cub in their enclosure is Sola.  In this photo, she takes a break from the busy foraging.


Sola climbs a tree to take a break.

In the other Wild Enclosure the cubs are just as busy eating.  Here we see Ellis Bear looking for food.


Ellis Bear on the trail of something tasty.

Peanut Bear is looking for his namesake, peanuts.


Peanut Bear is hunting for peanuts.

From now until the cubs are released back into the wild, we will see them become ever more focused on eating to gain that all-important weight that will sustain them through the winter.

The cubs residing at ABR have many choices of activities.  Choices that are very much like what they will have when they are back in the wild.  Here are some images that show some of the cubs and the choices they have made at the time the photo was taken.

One choice that all of the cubs make frequently is that of climbing a tree.  Our Wild Enclosures have many tall trees and the cubs take advantage of them.  Trees are very important to bear cubs – they represent safety and security.  Sometimes they are used for food (leaves and insects) and often for rest and sleep.

cub in tree

      One of the cubs in a typical resting pose in the tree.

Another choice of activity centers around the natural-looking “dens” that are in the enclosures.  Here, Marvin chooses to play on top of the den (maybe he’s “king of the mountain?”)

Marvin on den

                                          Marvin on top of a den.

Another choice when it comes to dens is to hide inside or next to the structure as Marvin is doing here.

Marvin hides

                                             Marvin hides in the den.

The cubs can choose to attack a tree in the enclosure, to shred the bark and look for tasty insects.  Bonnie Blue appears to have done some damage to this tree as she looks for insects or grubs.

Bonnie Blue and scratched tree

                           Bonnie Blue with tree that has been scratched.

Finally, Here is Charley B, who is choosing to simply stand and show what a handsome bear he is.  He appears to be comfortable and contented.

Charley B.

                           Charley B. poses on logs.

We try to provide as many good choices for our cubs as possible.  We hope that they will continue to make good choices when they leave us to return to the wild.


Bear cubs are learning every day.  They are alert to any unusual smell, sound, or sight and will bolt and climb the nearest tree when even slightly alarmed.  This reaction is automatic and is vital to their survival, when in the wild.  The cubs at ABR follow the same instinctual patterns as do cubs in the wild, and as they do, they are practicing for their eventual return to the wild.

Our first picture is of Noli Bear, obviously on alert.  Perhaps she heard a sound that was unfamiliar, or something caught her attention and she stands up to see over the grass.  As we have said before, when a bear stands up people often assume that it is getting ready to attack, but that is not the case.  Bears stand up on their hind legs to see, hear, or smell something better.

Noli stands

                      Noli Bear is alert to any change in her environment.

It could be that she was uncomfortable about something, for she climbed a tree to rest and observe for a while.

Noli in tree

                                                       Noli in the tree.

The three “buddies,” Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway, and Marvin forage together.

Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway, Marvin

             Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway, and Marvin are usually together.

Carter maintains his distance from the other cubs.  He comes down from his tree to forage alone.


                                  Carter Bear seems to prefer to be alone.

Each of the cubs have their own distinctive personalities that they reveal through their behavior.



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