In the wild, cubs spend a lot of time in trees.  Mother bears send their cubs up a tree for safety – a tree is the safest place for a small cub, and mother bears use trees as “baby sitters.”  Our four orphaned cubs at ABR follow their instincts and like to spend their time on the high platform in their Acclimation Pen.  The curators built the platform to give the cubs the climbing practice they need.  When they go out into the wild enclosure, which should happen very soon, they will have trees to climb.  Then they will be able to practice being wild bears!  Here are some photos of the cubs up high in the pen.

4 cubs up high

All 4 cubs are on the high platform.

Cub climbs

Climbing practice.

These little cubs, having spent enough time with their mothers in the wild to learn several lessons, sometimes show stress when a curator is around.  Even though they can’t see the curator, their amazing senses of smell and hearing tell them that they are nearby.  This photo shows Sugar Bear sucking on Bucky’s ear.  Cubs often suck on their paws just as babies suck their thumbs.  Sometimes they will suck on a cub friend’s ear, as Sugar is doing.  Bucky Bear seems not to mind.  We have seen a line up where 3 or more cubs are each sucking on the ear of the cub next to them!

Sugar sucks Bucky's ear

Another sign of stress in a cub (or in many caged animals) is pacing.  For now, our cubs are in a cage, and that is stressful to them.  For this reason, the curators hope to open the door to the wild enclosure soon.  In this photo, Cee Cee Bear is seen pacing along the side of the pen.  Curator Coy said that she did this for quite a while, as he was running water to clean out the pen and fill the water tub.

Cee Cee paces

Cee Cee Bear paces.

For the cubs to be released into the wild enclosure, they must learn to eat puppy chow, in addition to the natural fruits and vegetables that they enjoy.  The puppy chow, which is fortified with calcium and protein, provides essential nutrients.  It was foreign to them at first, but when it was soaked in berry juice, they ate it with no problem.  The formula and yogurt that has provided the calcium and protein until now can’t be given to them now that the weather is getting warmer.

Cub eats from bowl

A cub samples the food .