As promised, here is the post about the release of two of our “first wave” cubs – #208 Juliette and her sister #209 Summer came to ABR in July weighing 13.3 and 11.7 pounds, respectively.  They were released back into the wild on November 25th, weighing 61 and 81 pounds, respectively – quite an impressive weight gain in four months’ time.  We have some photos to share about the cubs’ stay at ABR and their release.

First, we see how they looked back in July.

Sisters Summer and Juliette in July.

Sisters Summer and Juliette in July.

By August they had grown and were living in the Wild Enclosure.  In this photo of Summer, we can see a bit of the white blaze on her chest.  Only about one in four bears in the Smokies have a white blaze.


Summer played peek-a-boo.



Juliette climbing a tree.

In September this photo showed them relaxing and appearing to be sharing a joke.


The sisters look very relaxed.

And now we have photos of their release day, starting with the workup.


Each cub was worked up separately.

Cub weighed

The cubs were weighed.

Measurements and vital stats were taken.

Checking vitals

Checking the vitals.

Each cub received eartags and a lip tattoo.

Lip tattoo

Lip tattoo and eartag have the same numbers.

The cubs were loaded onto the truck for their trip to their new home.

Into the truck

Into the truck she goes.


Release site

At the release site.

Each of the cubs wasted no time in running to the woods to begin their new adventure – their second chance at a wild life!


Juliette jumps down.


Summer heads for the woods, following her sister.

As always, we wish a long and happy life to our released cubs.  They are ready for their life in the wild.  Goodbye and Good luck, Summer and Juliette!


We promised a release post, and it will happen later today, but we had to let everyone know about our latest arrival – Cub #231 nicknamed Linus Bear, rescued in the Gatlinburg area of Sevier County by TWRA.  Linus is a ten-month-old male, the same age as all the other cubs currently at ABR.  He weighed 16.5 pounds and had attracted the attention of citizens who had reported a cub in distress.  The TWRA officer tried for a week to capture him before finally succeeding.  Curator Janet took the cub to the UT Vet School for the usual examination.

Linus Bear

Cub 231 – Linus Bear at rescue.

Linus's exam

Linus is examined by the UT vets.

Linus was prescribed antibiotics and the customary worm medicine.  Then he was transported to ABR.


Linus in the transport carrier.

Linus Bear will be housed in a private acclimation pen outdoors until he finishes his medicines.  Then he will be out in a Wild Enclosure.



On the day before Thanksgiving, ABR welcomed Cub #230 nicknamed Acorn Bear.  She is a 10-month-old female, found in Blount County in the area of Heritage High School.  She weighed in at 30 pounds – much larger than our most recent cubs, but even at that weight she is underweight for her age and unlikely to survive the winter alone.  She also had a wound on one leg that needed stitches during her exam at the UT Vet School.  Because of the wound, she will be on antibiotics as well as the worm medicine.

The photos we have of her so far are those taken at UT.  We can see how the vets work on a cub.

Acorn exam

Acorn Bear is examined by the UT vets.

In the next photo we can see the wound on her leg that required stitches.


Acorn looks a bit larger on the exam table, but is still underweight.

Because of her stitches and the antibiotics, Acorn will be housed in The Cub House for her first few days.

Watch for our next post about the release of two more of the “first wave” cubs!


The “first wave” cubs at ABR (the cubs who came to us during the summer) are nice and plump – real “chubby cubbies.”  They are slowing down, typical for bears that are reaching the end of their active period and instinctively know their weight is sufficient for them to survive the winter.  These cubs are still eating, but at a more relaxed, slower pace.  They are taking more frequent naps, often on the ground.  Their play and rough-housing sessions are much less frequent.  They are showing that they are thinking about denning, and these cubs will be released soon into the wild, where they will find dens of their own.

dugout in log pile

A dugout in the log pile makes a den.

Here is a closeup of the log pile “den.”


Closer look shows that it is a good start to constructing a den.

Sometimes the cubs simply rake the ground to make a daybed.


Here is a simple, cleared daybed.

Here is another daybed.


A cleared daybed by a tree.

And here is the daybed above, this time being used by Ellis Bear.  He looks comfortable.


Ellis naps in the daybed.

It’s easy to see that these larger cubs are preparing themselves for denning.  They will get their chance soon.

ABR received a new little female cub, #229 nicknamed Chestnut Bear.  She was rescued in the Gatlinburg area after her mother and a sibling were killed in a traffic accident.  We have often said that we don’t know what happened to the mothers of our orphaned cubs, and that is true more often than not.  But as in the case of Cub #215 who came to us in August and was released in early November, when the mother is killed in a traffic accident, we do know.  Chestnut Bear is larger at admittance than any of the other cubs, but she is older and was with her mother until the unfortunate accident.  Chestnut weighed in at 19.5 pounds – still smaller than she would need to be to survive the winter alone.  Considering how poor the food in the wild has been this year, Chestnut’s mother did an amazingly good job of caring for her cubs.  Mother bears are like that.  They are protective and diligent about providing cubs with the best possible nutrition.  The only photo we have today is one taken when she was being examined at UT.  We’ll post additional photos as we can.

Chestnut Bear

Cub 229, Chestnut Bear has her checkup.

Chestnut Bear does look larger in comparison to the recent arrivals, and seems to be healthy.  She just needs to gain weight.  At ABR,  she went directly into an outdoor acclimation pen.



We have talked about our “first wave” cubs who will soon be ready for release, and the “second wave” cubs who are much more recent arrivals and are still very small.  These cubs will be spending the winter at ABR to ensure that when they are released next spring they are of good size and healthy weights – in other words, “Chubby cubbies.”

We have some photos of these smaller cubs in their current housing.  We begin with Tucker Bear, in the acclimation pen he shares with Shelby and Flora.  All three of them have finished their medications and are improving.


Tucker Bear looks more alert.

Tucker eats

Tucker eats good food.

Shelby is improving, too.  She prefers to stay up high up on the platform in the pen.


Shelby Bear likes heights.


She feels safe when she is up high.

As we know, bear cubs seek safety high in trees, so the desire to be high is understandable.  Rufus Bear, who is still in The Cub House, gets high into the crawl space above the wall and just below the roof.


It’s hard to see Rufus up there.

A closer view of Rufus in the crawl space.  Soon he will be too big to fit into the small space.


We can see him in this closeup view. It’s a tight fit!

These “second wave” cubs are making progress as they eat the nutritious food being provided by out curators.  Soon they will be ready for another move – their release into the Wild Enclosure.



Today we have some photos of most of the cubs currently at ABR.  We have three groups – the “first wave” cubs who are almost ready for release and are in one of the Wild Enclosures; the larger of the “second wave” cubs who are in another Wild Enclosure; and finally the smallest of the “second wave,” little cubs who are currently housed in acclimation pens and have yet to be released into a Wild Enclosure.

Here is Rufus Bear, Cub #224, who is still in The Cub House for careful observation as he completes his course of medications.


Rufus in The Cub House.

Rufus hides when a curator is nearby.  He hunkers down behind the stump.

Rufus hides

Rufus hides by the stump.

Flora and Tucker Bear have finished their meds and now share an acclimation pen.

Tucker and Flora

Tucker and Flora Bear share an acclimation pen.

Tiny Tim is in his own acclimation pen.

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim is seen through spaces in the platform.

Beaufort Bear still likes to hide in the log den in his acclimation pen.  We can’t see him very well – maybe that’s the idea.

Beaufort in log

Beaufort curls up in his log den.

The larger “second wave” cubs are in an acclimation pen together where they forage and rest.


Tedford is looking better.

Derby and Gamble

Derby and Gamble forage together.

Pumpkin Bear has gained some weight since she arrived.

Pumpkin Bear

Pumpkin Bear.

The “first wave” cubs are doing very well and will soon be ready for release into the wild.


Aster climbed a tree.

Charley B approached Aster’s tree and she huffed at him and slapped the trunk to show him he was getting too close.  For the most part, though, the “first wave” cubs get along very well and forage together.

First wave cubs

The “first wave” cubs foraging.

To remind you, the “first wave” cubs, who arrived during the summer, are Juliette, Summer, Petal, Peanut, Charley B, Ellis and Aster.  They are becoming plump and are very healthy little bears.



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