One of our ABR supporters shared an unbelievable video from social media of a mother bear defending her cub from a male bear. Although they are different colors, the mother, the cub and the male bear are all black bears. In the western part of the country, black bears occur in several colors, including tan, chocolate brown, cinnamon and even white!

If you’ve ever thought you could outrun a bear, look at this video and you’ll chhange your mind. Click here to see this amazing footage.

We reviewed the three yearlings and the nine cubs of 2018. Now, to finish the record of the year, we will review a couple of sad stories (unfortunately, not every rescue ends happily) and some “oddities” that occurred during 2018.

The first sad story was the death of Clementine Bear, which was covered in our previous post about the cubs. Her death resulted from an accident while she was living in a wild enclosure at ABR. We do all we can to protect our furry charges, but in trying to make their lives as “wild” as possible while they are with us, we must allow them to do the thing they most enjoy, climb trees, and occasionally an accident will happen.

The second sad story occurred in late August, when we received a 7-pound, seven-month-old cub that we named Flower. She never made it to the ABR facility because her exam and subsequent necropsy at UTCVM revealed a number of problems, any of which could have been the cause of her death.

Flower Bear had a very short life.

The other sad cub story took place on October 28th, when we received a nine-month-old cub that had been hit by a car. She was named Serenity Bear. Though she was a good weight at 47 pounds, her exam at UT revealed internal injuries that couldn’t be repaired. As you know, we had other bears that recovered from car accidents, but Serenity’s injuries were simply too severe.

Curator Janet with Serenity Bear at UTCVM.

Now for the “oddities.” ABR is situated in the middle of prime bear habitat, so it is not unusual to see a wild bear passing through the facility. While they generally just move on, we had a couple of intrepid bears that actually were able to enter the enclosures.

The first of these we called Mr. Intruder Bear. He broke into the Wild Enclosure that housed the Six-pack. Curators spotted him on the enclosure cam and were able to contact TWRA to escort him off the property. The six cubs were snoozing on their platform after a busy foraging session, and didn’t even react to the presence of a “foreigner.”

Mr. Intruder Bear climbed a tree in the enclosure. He wasn’t allowed to stay long enough to eat.

The next bear to break in was a female whom we called Ms. Intruder Bear, or “Trudi.” She got into Wild Enclosure #4 and had many snacks before she was escorted off the premises. She was a larger and older bear than Mr. Intruder Bear.

Ms. Intruder Bear (Trudi) was bold. She actually entered the Acclimation Pen where many snacks were available.

Finally, there was another, we called Visitor Bear, who wandered around outside the fence. He looked like he would have liked to enter, but he didn’t. Better manners, perhaps? Of course the bounty of food that the curators provide to the cubs does smell delicious to the wild bears in the neighborhood, so it’s expected that they will be attracted to the facility.

Visitor Bear was a good-looking fellow with a white chest blaze.

This ends the review of all of the ABR bears of 2018. It is not likely that we will have any new residents during the winter, so the time will be filled with cleaning and construction projects to get ready for spring.

In our last post we reviewed the three yearling bears that came to ABR for care during 2018. Now it is time to revisit the cubs of the year – those bears born in January of 2018.

The first cub to be brought to ABR was Clementine, who arrived in late April at the age of 3 months. She had been swept down the Nolichucky River and climbed out to safety in a tree. Clementine Bear weighed just 5.5 pounds, normal for her age. Though she was doing well, she died in July, very likely from the results of a fall in the Wild Enclosure.

Clementine Bear arrived in April and, sadly, died in July.

Viola Bear, our first Kentucky cub, was admitted May 11 and weighed 4.4 pounds. She had bite wounds on the back of her neck, inflicted by an animal. Viola was part of the Six-pack. She was released back in KY on December 20, weighing 77 pounds.

Viola Bear was an active and sometimes feisty cub.

Willow Bear was injured in an auto accident that killed her sibling. She arrived in early June, weighing 8.8 pounds at the age of 4.5 months. She was suffering from extreme dehydration and a possible concussion. She made a good recovery as another member of the Six-pack, and was released on December 7 weighing a healthy 82 pounds.

Willow Bear liked to climb the trees in her enclosure.

The first male cub was Bosco Bear, who was 6 months old when he arrived in July. He weighed 17.6 pounds and had been found in a tree, alone. Another cub in the Six-pack, Bosco was released on December 17th and weighed 74.5 pounds.

Bosco Bear was part of the Six-pack.

Ruff Bear was admitted in August, along with his brother. He was 6 months old and weighed 29 pounds. His mother was eating garbage and had been relocated before officers were aware that she had cubs. Ruff was healthy, except for showing signs of poor diet. He ate ABR’s good foods along with the rest of the Six-pack. When released on December 10th, Ruff weighed 74 pounds.

Ruff Bear was another member of the Six-pack.

Tumble Bear, brother to Ruff, came at the same time but was smaller, at 19 pounds. Tumble was another member of the Six-pack. He was released on December 10th and weighed 72 pounds.

Tumble Bear, Ruff’s brother, came to ABR at the age of 6 months.

Cherry Bear, sister to Ruff and Tumble, evaded capture for a few days, but was brought to ABR on August 11. She, too, was 6 months old and weighed 21 pounds. The three siblings were released together on December 10th. Cherry Bear weighed 74 pounds.


Cherry Bear was an exceptionally attractive cub.

On August 15th, we received our second KY cub, Piccola Bear. She was underweight for 6 months old, at just 13 pounds and had a perforated intestine from a dart when captured. She remained the smallest ABR cub, but was very active and friendly when another cub joined her in her Wild Enclosure. Piccola returned to KY with Viola Bear on December 20th. She weighed 73.5 pounds.

Piccola Bear was alone for a while, but entertained herself.

Dash Bear was the oldest cub to arrive in 2018. She was 7 months old when she came to ABR in early September. She weighed 33 pounds and had been hit by a car that killed her sibling. Dash had a broken mandible and had to have her jaw wired. She also had other lacerations, all of which healed so that she entered Piccola’s Wild Enclosure after a month. Dash was the last cub to be released, on December 22nd, She weighed 100 pounds.

Dash Bear tripled her weight at ABR.

We are always glad to be able to share the success stories of cubs who have thrived and been released back to their habitats. However, not every rescue has a happy ending. In our next post we’ll share a couple of sad stories and a couple of interesting/amusing ones from the previous year.

ABR had a relatively busy year in 2018. To start off this new year we thought it would be good to review last year. In this post we’ll recall the three yearlings who came to us for care. The next post will remember the cubs.

April Bear arrived on April 2nd, and had suffered broken ribs from a car accident. She weighed 68 pounds – good for a 13-month-old yearling. She needed only a short time at ABR and was released on June 7th, weighing 102 pounds.

April Bear was named for the month she arrived.

The next yearling was from Louisiana. Magnolia Bear was admitted on May 21st. As a 16-month-old, she was underweight and undernourished at just 21 pounds. When she was released on October 18th, Magnolia weighed a healthy 80 pounds.

Our Louisiana Bear was named for the state flower.

The third yearling was Bumble B. Bear. He was a 16-month-old, arriving on May 31st. He was also underweight at 23 pounds, and was found hanging around a candy store. Bumble B. was released in September and weighed a hefty 106 pounds.

Bumble B. Bear was a handsome fellow who loved to swim in his pool.

It was rewarding to watch these yearlings recover quickly and be released to have their second chance at a wild life. We hope they are doing well in their natural habitats.

With all the 2018 cubs having been released, the curators were planning a restful and relaxing week between Christmas and New Years, but that was not to be. A fierce storm with high winds did some serious damage at the ABR facility requiring immediate attention.

We are very glad that there were no cubs in residence and no humans, either, so there weren’t any injuries to living beings. But here’s an idea of what happened to the fencing and to one of the storage buildings.

The high winds toppled a pine tree, which crushed the shed.
Fencing was damaged by the fallen tree.
Volunteers checked the damage to plan their next move.
Curator David started to cut the tree.
One of the Wild Enclosures suffered broken fencing. It will have to be repaired by professionals.
The winds were strong enough to strip the anti-climbing wraps off of trees in the enclosure.

So much for the week of R&R. Some of the repairs needed immediate repair.

TWRA officer Sterling Daniels shared a very short video of Dash at the release site. Look fast, she really did “dash away.” Click here to see her running home.

In our last post we reviewed the ABR life of Dash Bear from September 4th when she arrived with a wired jaw after surgery at UTCVM. She had been hit by a car and required rest time and a special diet, so she went to the Red Roof Recovery Center. Because bears invariably heal very quickly, she was able to enter Wild Enclosure #3 within about a month. She and the much smaller Piccola were together in that enclosure, eventually becoming friends.

When the curators opened the gates to Acclimation Pens, to begin the passive capture of the cubs to prepare for their releases, Dash was the only cub that refused to enter. She remained outside as one by one the other 8 cubs were worked up and released. But on December 22nd, the Cubby birthday, when she turned 11 months old, Dash finally did enter the Acclimation Pen.

TWRA officer Sterling Daniels covers Dash’s eyes as she is worked up.
Curator Tom took measurements and paw prints.She weighed 100 pounds, gaining 67 pounds in 3months.
Dash’s paw was the size of Curator Janet’s hand.
Janet monitored the vitals.
When her temperature dropped, Dash was put on a heating pad and covered with blankets.
Dash had a good, healthy set of teeth.
After a shot of the reversal drug, Dash started to wake up, so she was quickly carried to the transport carrier.
Tom and Sterling place Dash on a bed of cedar chips.
What a beauty! Dash was ready to go “home for the holidays!”

We wish Dash Bear a happy and healthy life in the wild, and hope she is able to stay away from humans!