Since there are no current furry residents at ABR, we will post some photos of a few of our former residents.  You may or may not recall some of these cubs who received help from ABR.

First up is Sugar Bear, the first cub to arrive at ABR in 2014.  She was found in the bottom of a ravine in early April when she was about 8 weeks old.  The officer who rescued her told Curator Coy that she was “about the size of a sack of sugar,” and that’s how she got her name.  The estimate was good – she weighed 5.7 pounds.  She thrived at ABR and was released in August  after four months with us.

Sugar Bear

Sugar Bear in the Wild Enclosure at ABR in 2014.

Next, we revisit two of our most recent cub residents.  In June 2016 Andy and Eliza were brought to ABR after their mother was killed in a traffic accident.  They were about five months old and weighed a little over 13 pounds (Andy) and a little over 15 pounds (Eliza).  When they were released in November of this year, Andy weighed 61 pounds and his sister weighed 53.5 pounds.  As expected, the male cub had gained more weight than the female.  Adult male bears are generally one-third larger than females.

Andy and Eliza

Andy Bear and his sister Eliza were with us for five months in 2016.

In 2013 we cared for three cubs from South Carolina after they were found in a box beside the road at the age of about six weeks.  These cubs achieved renown through news articles and TV reports.  Although they were incredibly small when they arrived, they gained plenty of weight and were about 100 pounds each at their release in November 2013.

Bennie, Jerry and Carrie

Bennie, Jerry and Carrie – the cubs from South Carolina.

We hope that you enjoy seeing these images of some of our former cub residents.  We will continue to post these faces from the past until we receive another bear cub in need of care.  That will likely not occur until the spring of 2017.


In addition to caring for orphaned bear cubs, ABR is always mindful of the example we set in the community when it comes to coexisting with bears.  A vital part of this message that we repeat over and over again is to always dispose of garbage and trash in a bear resistant or bear proof dumpster.  Feeling that we must “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk,” we ordered a bear proof dumpster to install at our Trillium Cove Visitor and Education Center.  It had to be ordered from a supplier in North Carolina, which necessitated a trip by Vice-President Ed Owens to haul the dumpster back to Tennessee.  These photos show Ed’s trip and the subsequent installation of the new dumpster.

Dumpster on trailer

The brand-new dumpster is loaded onto a trailer.


Ready for the trip to Tennessee.


The bear proof dumpster arrives at Trillium Cove. We can see the old, non-bear proof dumpster in the background.

Dumpster ready

The new dumpster is ready for use. Bears can’t get in!

We don’t know that we can call a dumpster “beautiful,” but we are proud of the fact that we are setting a good example for the community and visitors.


It has been more than a week since our final 2016 cub left ABR.  But our post-cub work is just beginning.  Having had cubs onsite for over a year and a half, we have a lot of work to do to be ready for next spring, when we will undoubtedly receive more orphaned cubs.  Today we have a link to a video that aired on local TV station WBIR a few days ago.  In the video, which allows us to get a behind the scenes look at the facility, Head Curator Coy Blair shows the recently vacated Wild Enclosure and discusses plans for this period without cubs to care for.  If you have ever wondered what ABR looks like or what our volunteers and others will do now that the cubs are gone, you’ll be sure to want to view this short video.  Click here to see the news report and learn more about the ABR facility.

Our last post was about Finnegan Bear’s last day at ABR.  Yes, he has gone, and for the first time in over nineteen months ABR has no bears onsite.  Today we review the ABR life of Finnegan, from his arrival in March through his departure eight months later.


He weighed just 2.9 pounds and had to be syringe-fed at first, in the Cub Nursery.


To lessen the interaction with humans, Curator Coy invented a bottle feeder for Finn.

Finn-stuffed friends

He had stuffed friends for company in the Cub Nursery.

Finn- Cub House

In April, Finn was moved into The Cub House.

Finn- Acclimation Pen

From there, he went into the Acclimation Pen.

Finn- Wild Enclosure

It wasn’t long before he was released into the Wild Enclosure, where he spent the rest of his time at ABR.

Finn- tree

He was a good tree climber.


He often stayed up high in a tree overnight.


He showed his distaste for being photographed.


His first swim was accidental, but he learned to love the pool.


During the summer he became quite a swimmer.

Finn - Mother Bunny

Before he and the two siblings became friends, Finn was comforted by Mother Bunny.

Three cubs

It took a while, but the three cubs adjusted and spent time foraging and playing together.


He seemed to have issues with leaves that stuck to his bottom when he was foraging.


Finnegan grew into a handsome bear.

His workup, tagging and collaring was done on the day that Andy and Eliza were released.  All three cubs had been lured into the Acclimation Pen, so it made sense to do the workups on the same day, thus avoiding the need to sedate Finnegan another time.


His teeth were strong, white and healthy.

Finn- tags and collar.

He received his ear tags and his collar.  He weighed 66.5 pounds!


Finnegan’s hind paw.

Finn- angry cub

Finn was an angry little cub when he awoke from the sedation and found himself back in the Acclimation Pen (but not for long, as he was back in the Wild Enclosure very soon).

Finn - truck

The TWRA truck, with Finnegan aboard, left ABR.

This cub year (which started for ABR in March 2015) was a record-breaker.  We cared for a total of 56 orphaned cubs – more than any other year in our twenty-year history.  In 2016 the mast crop has been much better, so we don’t expect to receive any additional cubs until next spring.  That will give us the opportunity to work on some much-needed maintenance projects.

We will post about these projects through the months to come, so keep checking.  We may revisit some of the cubs from this or previous years, just to keep you interested.  Thank you for your interest and support of Appalachian Bear Rescue.


We have some very good photos of Finnegan on his last day at ABR.  If we were to anthropomorphize about these, we’d almost say that he sensed this would be his final day and he was revisiting various parts of the Wild Enclosure, as if to say “goodbye.”  However, we try very hard not to put human emotions and acts into our reporting on the bears, so we’ll just say that it’s good to see these final photos of the little bear who has been with us for so much of this year.


Finnegan Bear sitting on a stump in the enclosure.

Finn - stump

A closer view of Finn on his stump. Perhaps he found some insects to eat.


Down from the stump, Finnegan forages.


Finn sits and looks around.


His dark color stands out against the fall colors.


Finnegan has become a beautiful bear.

Tomorrow we’ll report on his departure from ABR.


Today we have some great photos of Finnegan Bear as he strolls around the Wild Enclosure, foraging as usual and taking a drink from the Cubby Pool.  Since he is the only bear in the enclosure now, he seems very relaxed about eating and drinking.  He is still in hyperphagia but the “feeding frenzy” is not as intense now.  He is very calm and deliberate about his activities.


Finnegan approaches the Cubby Pool. Will he take a swim?


No, he isn’t interested in swimming.


He does take a nice long drink. Bears need lots of water during hyperphagia


He leaves the pool and returns to foraging.


He does enjoy the fruits and nuts.


Grapes, cherries and acorns are tasty foods for a bear.


Finn keeps his nose to the ground as he uncovers more food.

Finn-to tree

After a while he turns away and returns to his favorite tree for a nap.

His life is eating and sleeping at a slow and relaxed pace.  We will say goodbye to Finn before long, when he is released back into the wild.


Today’s photos show Finnegan Bear enjoying what we might call a fruit salad for a cub.  Curator Coy tossed grapes, cherries and chestnuts into the enclosure, and Finn wasted no time in foraging for them.


Finn finds his “fruit salad.” He has always liked grapes.


He certainly does enjoy his food!

Even though his eating has slowed somewhat, he still has a good appetite.


Curator Janet says she’s never seen a bear with such long eyelashes.


He has a beautiful, healthy fur coat.


His paws are large, but it’s surprising how well he can use them for fine movements.

It won’t be long until Finnegan Bear gets his second chance at life in the wild.  It looks as though he is ready!