Imagine this: a sow bear, hit by a vehicle last fall, subsequently denned in the national park and actually gave birth to three healthy cubs during the winter!  This is a true story, detailed in a recent press release from the GSMNP:

“On November 26, 2011 (Thanksgiving weekend), at approximately 10:00pm, an adult female bear (175 pounds) was struck by a vehicle along Highway 441 near the Gatlinburg boundary.  The bear was found the next morning laying next to a tree about 20 yards from the road and was subsequently captured and evaluated.  The bear had significant injuries to its right rear leg, including a shattered femur and open wounds on the inside and outside portions of the leg.  After consulting with Dr. Ed Ramsay, Veterinarian at the University of Tennessee, it was clear there was no feasible way to repair the injury or rehabilitate the bear, therefore we had two options – either euthanize or release the bear.  Given the excellent body condition of the bear (again 175 pounds), Dr. Ramsay suggested giving her a chance.”

“So, we held the bear for a day, gave her two heavy doses of antibiotics and then released her.  We also decided to put a radio-collar on the bear so we could check her condition this winter and evaluate our decision.  Last week, Joe Yarkovich, Jay Carr and Carrie Gilbert located the bear in a den.”

The attached photos are what they found.”

This story proves the resilience and recuperative ability of bears!