Bears are very intelligent and curious animals.  As such, they need to be stimulated and challenged when in a captive situation,  Although ABR is only a temporary home for our rescued cubs, we strive to enrich their experience as much as possible by providing a variety of experiences, stimuli, and choices for them.  They need to be challenged in order to prevent them from becoming bored.  One of the enrichment features in one Wild Enclosure is the tire bridge.  It has no purpose other than to give the cubs a different experience that will help develop their strength, coordination, and balance.  Here we see how Peanut (Cub #212) succeeds in his conquest of the bridge.

 

Peanut on bridge

Peanut starts his bridge crossing.

He seems to be very sure of himself and has no trouble moving across the bridge.

Peanut - bridge

Peanut makes his way across.

Nearby, we can see one of the vertical dens that are a part of the Wild Enclosure.  Bears in the Southern Appalachians often den in standing, hollow trees that have been hit by lightning.  Sometimes these dens are 50-60 feet off the ground!  The vertical dens in the Wild Enclosure are built to simulate those hollowed-out trees on a smaller scale.

Peanut - bridge

He’s almost to the end!

Peanut across

He got across the bridge!

Upon reaching the end of the bridge, Peanut tests (or is it tastes?) the chain.  Like human babies, bear cubs do a lot of tasting of things in their environment.  Like babies, they can learn a lot about their world through the medium of taste.

Peanut tastes chain

Peanut gives the chain a taste-test.

It is good to see the cubs trying out things in their Wild Enclosures.  We want to keep them busy exploring and learning – in between the eating and sleeping times!