Several of you have asked about the eartags that Loretta and Rose are wearing, and we said we would answer the questions/concerns after we attended the Black Bear Management seminar given by Kim Delozier on Saturday, June 9th.  Kim retired recently from his position as Chief Wildlife Biologist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We asked him about the eartags on Park cubs and yearlings.  All 3 of the yearlings currently being rehabbed at ABR are Park bears, and 2 of them (Rose and Loretta) have eartags, although the 3rd (Little Bit) does not.

Kim informed us that there is no special significance attached to whether a bear has 1 or 2 eartags (it is not a sign that the bear was in trouble once or twice, which is the most common assumption people make).  He went on to say that bears will always have eartags when they are released – the eartag is  like a clip on the ear and has a number that can be used to identify the bear in the event that it is later poached, hit by a car, or killed in some other manner.  We know about this, and have reported in the past that cubs are eartagged upon release, whether they are Park bears or TWRA bears.  The fact that Rose and Loretta have tags simply means that it was convenient to tag them when they were caught, before being transported to ABR.  The fact that Little Bit does not have any eartags may mean that, because of her injury she was not tagged, or because of her very small size (she weighed only 13 pounds when she arrived) she was not tagged.  Since Kim did not participate in her capture or transport, he didn’t know for certain, but said there was no special reason.

Loretta is the yearling with 2 eartags

Rose, her sister, has 1 eartag