Now that both trios of cubs are together in the Wild Enclosure, it is interesting to see how their relationships develop.  So far, there haven’t been any strong disagreements.  Of course, the fact that there is plenty of food for all of them helps.  No need for arguments.


Bosco and Viola were resting on the platform.


Trio 1 foraged in one area.


In another area, the cubs of Trio 2 are focused on their eating.


They concentrate more on their foraging than do the cubs of Trio 1.


But wait! Viola comes to join the cubs of Trio 2. 


Tumble Bear has found a treasure!


The pear won’t last long. Tumble gobbles it down.

We’ll be watching as these cub relationships continue to shift and change.



Magnolia Bear comes out of hiding.

The yearlings are much less visible than the cubs, so it’s good to see Magnolia Bear out and about. Bumble did not make an appearance.


As we expected, it wasn’t long before the two cub trios came together in their Wild Enclosure.  In our last post we said the two groups were staying apart but we were sure they would  get together soon.  And get together they did. It seems that Trio 2 (Cherry, Ruff and Tumble Bear) are totally focused on eating, perhaps because they were not getting quality food before their rescue.  Trio 1 (Viola, Willow and Bosco Bear) have been at ABR long enough to have a more relaxed attitude toward food.


Trio 2 busily foraging.


Willow Bear came down to see what was going on.


Willow climbs down; Bosco is behind the tree.


Bosco and Willow Bear forage together.


Trio 1 forages together.


Viola, the smallest cub, works her way toward the cubs in Trio 2.


A little later, all six cubs were foraging in the same area. Only the Trio 2 cubs could be identified. Not all cubs are in the photo.

There were a few huffs and blusters exchanged, but it soon became apparent. that all of the cubs would rather eat than anything  else, so they did that, staying in the same area.  Sincere food is scattered throughout the enclosure, they could eat in different areas if they chose to do so.

The only yearling visible was Bumble B Bear.


Bumble B. Bear seems to survey his domain.

Magnolia stayed hidden as she so often does. We can’t complain, though – she is behaving just as a yearling bear should.  Yearlings, on their own for the first time, are shy and reclusive, hiding or climbing trees to avoid attracting attention and to stay safe.

With six cubs in the Wild Enclosure and another one in the Red Roof Recovery Center, the curators are keeping very busy.  Little Piccola Bear, in the Recovery Center, requires 24/7 care.  The good news is that she is eating all of the (limited) amount of food (bear milk replacement formula with her meds added) that she is given.  She is also sleeping – she needs lots of rest to recover from her surgery.  She has even done some rearranging of her pen, moving her bed around.  These are good signs, but she is still in a fragile state.


Piccola napping on her bed in the Red Roof Recovery Center.

Out in Wild Enclosure #4, the two groups of cubs have been keeping to themselves, with no interactions yet.


Willow, Viola and Bosco sleep on the platform together.


At the same time, The new trio – Cherry, Ruff and Tumble are foraging.


Next morning – Viola Bear rouses herself.


Bosco Bear is still sleepy.


The newer trio is foraging again.


Cherry and Ruff Bear continue to forage.

From the platform, the other cubs can see these newbies eating.  Since they don’t yet realize that there will be plenty of food for all it makes us wonder if they were concerned about the new cubs eating “their” food.  They will soon learn that there is plenty for all at ABR.  Stay tuned

It was time for the sibling cubs, Cherry, Ruff and Tumble, to enter Wild Enclosure #4.  This is the enclosure where Willow, Viola and Bosco are living.  As always, we know that the cubs are aware of each other through their keen sense of smell, but so far they haven’t encountered the other cubs.  You’ll see that in this bear family the girl rules.  Cherry Bear is the first one to venture out.  In fact, it took some time for her brothers to realize what she had done.


The three cubs were eating peacefully in the Acclimation Pen.


The gate was opened remotely by the curator.


Cherry Bear noticed and stepped outside.


Tumble was perplexed. He could see his sister, but how did she get there?


He watched her and wondered. Ruff stayed on the platform.


Cherry returned to lead the way.


Tumble goes out the gate.


Cherry encourages her other brother.


Ruff saw his sister go through the gate.


Ruff jumps down from the platform.


He sees the open gate.


Out goes Ruff!


The gate is closed remotely.


All three of the cubs are outside!

They will enjoy the large outdoor space and it will be fun to watch them discover the many features of their new temporary home.  We wonder how long it will take before these cubs meet the other three.  Stay tuned.


On August 15 a KY wildlife officer brought a 6-month-old, female bear cub to be cared for at ABR.  This is the same officer who brought Viola Bear when she arrived in May.  The little cub, nicknamed Piccola (feminine of “piccolo,” another musical instrument like a viola) went to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and was found to need surgery for perforations in her intestine.  This is how her story played out.


Dr. Ramsay examined Piccola Bear.


An x-ray revealed the perforations in her intestine.


Little Piccola Bear weighed just 13 pounds.


The tiny cub was prepared for surgery.


The surgery team at work.


Piccola Bear’s foot.

Piccola’s situation is precarious.  She is a fragile little bear cub and will require 24/7  monitoring.  Her diet has to be carefully controlled and she cannot be allowed to climb.  When she was transported to ABR she went into the Red Roof Recovery Center where these special conditions can be met.  All we can do now is to watch and wait, and hope for the best.

As soon as Cherry Bear finished her worm medicine, she and her brothers were reunited.  Curators Coy and Tom moved her into Acclimation Pen #4  where Ruff and Tumble Bear have been residing for a few days.  The move went well, with no fussing.


Ruff, Tumble and Cherry Bear in Acclimation Pen #4.

As soon as possible, these cubs will be able to join the other three in the Wild Enclosure.


Outside, Viola Bear is aware of new cubs in the area.


Bosco Bear is ready for a swim.


Willow Bear approaches the pool, but doesn’t go in.


The current cubs will soon meet the new cub family.

The yearlings really made themselves scarce.  Only Magnolia was seen, hiding in the tree.  You’ll have to look to find her.


Both yearlings are very good at hiding. That’s good bear behavior!

Maybe we’ll have a photo of Mr. Bumble Bear next time – and maybe not!  We’ll see.

Another bear cub has arrived at ABR – #276, nicknamed Cherry Bear, was rescued from the same area as #274 and #275.  Here is the story of her rescue and trip to ABR.


Cub #276 (Cherry Bear) in the cherry tree just before her rescue.


TWRA Officer Sexton rescued Cherry Bear.


Cherry Bear went to UTCVM for her checkup.


She weighed 21 pounds.


She was examined thoroughly and pronounced healthy.


Her discolored teeth were the result of poor diet.


She has reddish fur in her ears.


Proof that she is a female – the “ponytail” beneath her tail.


Cherry Bear traveled to ABR. She did not look happy.


Her claws are quite formidable!

Since she came from the same area as the two male cubs, it is almost certain that she is the sister of Ruff and Tumble Bear.  She will be kept apart from them until she finishes her worm medication.  Then they can be reunited.  Welcome to Cherry Bear!