For those of you who have followed ABR through the past couple of years, you recall that we had a record number of orphaned cubs followed by many underweight, malnourished yearlings a year ago.  Those yearlings that arrived during the last few months of 2011 and first months of 2012 were cub-sized and weighed less than 20 pounds.  Colton Bear, our newest yearling, is much more normal for a year-old bear.  When we reported that he weighed about 60 pounds, some of you asked why he was brought to ABR at all.  As you look at the photos of him, you see a very healthy-appearing young bear with a shiny coat.  Compared to the yearlings admitted last fall, he is robust and should be able to get along on his own.  True enough, but this little bear was in a very populated area with lots of temptation in the form of human foods.  We don’t know exactly what training his mother had given him before dispersing him, but the fact is that he ended up in a bad place for a young bear to be.  TWRA felt that he needed to be removed from temptation until the nut crop is ready, at which time he can be released in a new spot, far away from humans, where he can fatten up on acorns until time to hibernate.  So they brought him to ABR, where he can be safely out of harm’s way until those nuts are ready for him.  Because of his age and normal size, he does not require the intensive nutritional therapy we provided last year (formula, yogurt, Pedialyte).  Colton is eating apples and berries with obvious enjoyment. 

 

Chances are that he will be released in the newly-enhanced Wild Side very soon, where he can relearn wild bear behavior.  He will have no contact with the curators once he is in the Wild Side, as his food will be thrown over the blind-covered fences so he must forage.  In the wild, a bear cub is weaned by the mother at 6-8 months of age, so Colton has been eating on his own for a long time.  He is now about 18-19 months old.  Fortunately, he is young enough that he can learn appropriate wild bear behavior, and be ready to live as a wild bear when he is released.