It’s release time – in order for the cubs to get to their new, wild homes and have time to find dens and prepare for their winter sleep.  We told you about Persimmon Bear a few days ago.  Next it was Willow’s turn.

Willow Bear arrived in early June, having been hit by a car that killed her sibling.  We will review her stay at ABR in this post and in the next one we’ll show the release procedure.

Willow had her checkup at the UT Vet School.  Look how tiny she was!

Willow weighed just 8.8 pounds.

She needed fluids. After the fluids were given, she perked up.

Willow went to the Cub Nursery at ABR.

In a few days she wanted OUT of the nursery.

She was placed in the Red Roof Recovery Center, but that didn’t satisfy her.

Next stop was the Acclimation Pen for a very short time.

The Cub House was larger, but still not enough for Willow.

When she first entered the
Acclimation Pen with Viola and Clementine, Willow hid.  Soon they were friends.

The three cubs entered the Wild Enclosure together.

Willow slept on the platform with her buddies.

They played on the tire bridge.

The three cubs climbed trees together.

After Clementine’s death, Bosco Bear joined the girls. They became friends.

The trio foraged and ate together. They were eating a lot.

Willow was growing.

She rested in the trees.

Willow was a good swimmer during the summer.

Willow was becoming a beautiful bear.

She was growing a lot.

Willow had become a big little bear!

She was ready to go back to the wild.

And on December 7th, six months after she arrived, Willow Bear did go home.  We’ll show her workup and release in our next post.



In our last post we showed how healthy Persimmon Bear has become in the care of ABR.  And on December 4th, she was deemed ready for release back into the wild!  Here is a review of her days at ABR.

Persimmon Bear went to UTCVM for a checkup after her rescue.

You will recall that she had been hit by a car, resulting in serious injuries, including broken ribs and a perforated lung.

Persimmon was housed in the Red Roof Recovery Center where she could be monitored around the clock.

It didn’t take long for her to feel much better.

When she rebelled against the confinement of the Recovery Center, she was moved to Acclimation Pen #2

Even the larger pen did not satisfy her for long, and she was released into the adjacent Wild Enclosure sooner than the curators had planned.

Persimmon entered the Wild Enclosure eagerly.

She found a spot that was perfect for her daybed and used it often.

She made great progress.

Persimmon became adept at balancing on the foundation for the unfinished platform.

Persimmon proved that she could climb trees easily.

She grew to be a healthy and chubby cub.

This is a photo of Persimmon on her last day at ABR.

Persimmon Bear arrived at the age of nine months.  She was ready for release into the wild at the age of ten and one-half months!  What a great recovery!

Our next post will show how the release procedure played out.


Just a few weeks ago, Persimmon Bear was hit by a car in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Rescued and brought to ABR after a checkup at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, it was uncertain whether the injured cub would live.  Not only did she survive, she has thrived under the care of the ABR curators – first in the Red Roof Recovery Center, then into the Acclimation Pen and finally into the Wild Enclosure.  As these photos show, she has made an amazing recovery.

Persimmon Bear forages in her enclosure.  Look how plump she is!

She climbs up to the unfinished platform. It will be completed after she leaves.

She doesn’t seem to mind that the platform is not complete.

Persimmon has excellent balance. She is a healthy, ten-month-old bear cub.

Persimmon is a healthy weight and should do well when she is released into the wild.



Yes indeed – the bear cubs are lethargic these days, and seem to be getting more so.  We only had one photo for the last post, and today we could only find two.  Piccola and Dash Bear were nowhere to be seen, apparently hiding in the foliage somewhere.

Persimmon Bear was sleeping in her daybed and was in view of the enclosure cam.

Persimmon snoozes in her daybed.

Even the (formerly) rowdy Six-pack was in resting mode on their platform.

The Six-pack is on the platform, but mostly obscured by the foliage.

And so we have a lot of sleepy bears.  This is good, since they will be released in time to find dens and begin their long winter’s sleep in the wild.

As we have said before, at this time of year the cubs begin to feel lethargic, not eating as voraciously or quite as much as they did a few weeks ago.  The lethargy shows in this photo of the Six-pack, still in “bed” (on their platform) at a later hour than usual.  The desperation of hyperphagia has given way to a slowdown of metabolism and the need for more rest and sleep.

The rest of the cubs were not visible at all on this day, so we offer this photo of our Six-pack cubs, sleeping in this morning.

The Six-pack, having a lazy morning and sleeping late.

Perhaps we’ll have some glimpses of the other cubs in our next post.

The bear cubs are still eating, even though it seems that they will soon split the “seams” of their fur coats.  The Six-pack followed the leader into their Acclimation Pen to munch on the treats in there.

The leader of the (six)pack stepped into the Acclimation Pen.

The other cubs followed.  The leader claimed the juicy pear.

Six-pack cubs visited the Food Wheel. They used to be able to sit in the wheel, but no longer!

These cubs are getting rounder as they continue to stuff themselves.

In her own enclosure, Persimmon Bear wandered into her Acclimation Pen to eat.

Persimmon Bear sitting in the middle of her lunch.

And in the last Wild Enclosure, Dash was not seen at all, but her enclosure-mate appeared briefly.

Piccola came out and then disappeared quickly.

Bears have bottomless tummies and perhaps a hollow leg or two.  It is likely they will keep eating until the day of their release.

You’ve no doubt heard of the “dog days” of summer.  We have a proposal that these late fall days be referred to as the “Bear Days.”  The bear cubs at ABR, like all bears everywhere, slow down at this time of year.  They are much less likely to exert themselves in order to get a snack than they were a couple of months ago.  They do a lot of napping, too.  Here are some recent scenes at ABR.

Piccola had a drink in the middle of the night.

The Six-pack snoozed on their platform.

The Six-pack foraging for acorns and other nuts.

Nuts and other kinds of “hard mast” foods are most sought after in the fall.  They are full of protein and fat.

Ruff and Tumble are pretty hefty. They are big little bears!

Willow did take a few minutes to play with the swingy ball.

Persimmon went into her Acclimation Pen and had a snack.

Although it seems that they might be getting full, apparently that doesn’t happen to bears.  They just keep eating!