As you know, the cubs at ABR come from different places and different families although we do have some siblings (Bonnie Blue and Ridgeway; Ellis and Charley B; the “3P’s”).  Whether they are related or not, bear cubs do have confrontations from time to time.  Such “arguments” may be very noisy, or may be relatively quiet, but seldom come to actual blows.  Black bears in the wild usually settle differences through bluff and bluster rather than engaging in acts that could prove to be injurious to one or both parties.  While  photographer Ken LaValley was onsite to take photos of the cubs and their growth, he observed and documented a few disagreements that we share here.

At first glance, you might think that these two cubs were sharing love.  But that is not the case.  Marvin (below) wanted to climb up to the larger branch of the tree occupied by Ridgeway, who would not let him pass.  Look at Marvin’s ears, which are laid back and the fur on both bears is bristling.  This confrontation went on for quite some time as both cubs vocalized loudly at each other.

Marvin and Ridgeway

             Not a friendly nuzzle! Ridgeway won’t let Marvin pass.

From a little further back, the scene looked like this.


                                A standoff between the two cubs.

Another confrontation took place between Bonnie Blue and Noli.  Bonnie Blue is vocalizing to Noli – expressing her feelings about something – we’ll never know what.  Noli is holding up her paw, though, as if to say “Enough!”

Bonnie Blue and Noli

                          Bonnie Blue vocalizes at Noli.

In the other Wild Enclosure, Petal lets Charley B know that she can stand up for herself and won’t be intimidated.

Petal and Charley B.

                                                    Petal and Charley B.

These behaviors are all appropriate for cubs that are learning to be wild bears.  They will need spunk and defensive strategies when they are released into the wild.