On August 19th, a new arrival came to ABR.  This cub, Bear #266 nicknamed Apollo in honor of the upcoming eclipse, was injured crossing a road with his mother and sibling.  Taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, he was found to have suffered a broken right front leg.  Apollo had surgery to repair the breaks to his radius and ulna and then was transported to the ABR Red Roof Recovery Center.  This building was completed recently to house injured cubs that must be restricted from climbing.  Here is the pictorial story of Apollo’s visit to UTCVM.


Apollo Bear arrives at UTCVM.


Dr. Morrison and her team examine the cub.

Apollo x-ray

Preparing to x-ray Apollo Bear.


Taking the x-ray


The image shows two broken bones.


Dr. Morrison prepares a splint for Apollo’s leg.


Wrapping the splint onto the leg.

Coy - Apollo

Curator Coy takes measurements.

Apollo Bear spent the night at UT.  The next morning he had surgery to install a plate in each of the broken bones – the radius and ulna.


This post-surgery x-ray shows the plates in the bones.

After surgery, Apollo was transported to ABR.


Apollo Bear in the Red Roof Recovery Center at ABR.

This pen is designed to keep an injured bear from injuring himself further by climbing.  He will spend a few weeks here, until he heals.


In our last post we related the story of two cubs and a pear.  One of the cubs, Otto, had the pear.  The other one, Rollo, stole it, much to Otto’s displeasure.  As it happened, the curator was able to catch the action in a video.  You can hear Otto’s protests, and you will see that each cub in turn started to climb the tree.  It’s well worth the watch.  Click here to see the video and get your chuckle for the day.

Today we have an amusing story about the cubs and a pear.  When the curators throw food into the enclosure, there are many pears, apples, grapes and whatever else is on their menu for the day.  However, at this particular time, Otto Bear found a pear and Rollo Bear stole it from him.  Otto was not happy about the thievery, and a brief argument, punctuated by cubby noises and a wrestling match ensued.  Within a few minutes, it was all over (cubs do not hold grudges) and the two cubs went back to their foraging.  Here are the photos that the curator took.  We have to imagine some of the story.


Rollo Bear on the hunt for food.


Rollo spies Otto with a pear. He steals it from Otto.


Otto, annoyed, climbs a tree. We can see that he is vocalizing his displeasure.

Unfortunately, the curator did not capture the very short wrestling match.


Rollo ate the pear and survived the wrestling match.

Peace descended on the Wild Enclosure as the two cubs went back to foraging.

The ABR cubs are often on the prowl for food.  Their job while they are staying with us is to eat and grow big and strong for their pending release.  They take this job very seriously and don’t have to be coaxed to eat.

Rollo - Otto

Cubs on the prowl. Rollo is the leader.

Rollo - Otto

They head for the food.

Rollo - Otto

A noise startled Otto, who ran to a nearby tree.

Bear cubs are easily startled, and their best defense is to climb a tree.

Rollo - Otto

It wasn’t so scary after all. Otto comes back down.

Otto - Rollo

They soon get back to the business of eating.

The curators are beginning to see the signs of hyperphagia in the cubs.  This is the feeding frenzy that compels all bears to increase their food intake in late summer to early fall.  They instinctively know they must pack on additional pounds to be ready for hibernation.  In response to this observation, the curators are increasing the amount of food they throw into the enclosure.

In our last post we showed you photos of Otto and Rollo on a rainy day.  It always intrigues us that bear cubs more often than not spend the day in a tree when it is raining. Even a downpour doesn’t chase them out of their tree.  On this day there were alternately showers and sun, so the cubs climbed down to forage in between the showers.

Rollo and Otto

Sunlight filtered through the treetops and raindrops when the curator began observation.

Cubs - forage

The cubs climbed down to forage.  Rollo hit the ground first.

\Rollo - Otto

Rollo set out to find a tasty morsel.


Otto found a yummy pear. Rollo took his treat into the underbrush.

On a rainy day the cubs’ diet is composed of foods that won’t disintegrate.  Pears, apples, nuts and grapes are favorite foods that hold up well in the rain.

Bears and bear cubs do not mind rain at all.  Their fur sheds water like a duck’s feathers.  When days are hot, rain feels good to the cubs and they enjoy it.


Wet Rollo in his tree, seems to be fascinated by the drips.


Wet Otto stands on a tree branch. Maybe he is trying to catch raindrops.

Rain or shine, bear cubs get hungry.  Down they come for some snacks.


Otto scrambles down to find something to eat.

Otto - Rollo

The cubs forage for apples and pears.


Thirsty Rollo takes a drink from the Cubby Pool.

The two cubs are doing well.  They are thriving at ABR as they put on weight and practice their bear skills.

Now that the ABR bear population is down to two cubs, we will be looking closely at them from now on, and learning more about bear cubs as we watch them in their Wild Enclosure.  This time we have photos of the cubs in a tree.  The curators report that the two cubs are up and down a dozen or more trees a day.  Like young children, they are seldom still for long.

Rollo - Otto

Rollo and Otto Bear are at home in trees.

Bear cubs are so much at home in trees they can almost be considered semi-arboreal.

Rollo - Otto

Otto seems to be hanging out, almost floating on air. We wonder how he holds on.

Rollo - Otto

They hear the sound of breakfast being delivered (thrown into the enclosure).


Down the tree they come ASAP.

Watching bear cubs come down a tree is like watching firemen come down a pole – they speed down, with their front paws barely touching the tree trunk.

Rollo - Otto

They are almost to the ground. Time elapsed – mere seconds

Rollo - Otto

They immediately start foraging for their food.

Rollo - Otto

The arrow points to where they were when they started their descent.

As we have said before, in photos it may appear that the curators are close to the cubs, but they are quite a distance away.  We are glad they have that zoom lens on the camera!