We have been following the progress of Cub #216 aka Aster Bear since she arrived at Appalachian Bear Rescue three weeks ago after being hit by a car and taken to the UT Vet School for treatment.  Aster has been confined to The Cub House so that the curators could make sure she received her meds and so they could monitor her progress.  She was so small when she arrived, weighing just 15 pounds, that they couldn’t let her be with other cubs right away.  You may remember that we posted many photos of the little bear eating – she seemed to gobble everything that was given to her, and Curator Coy said she did, indeed, eat all the nutritious food they provided.  On October 3rd, exactly three weeks after her accident, Aster Bear was released into Wild Enclosure 3.  Here is what happened.

First, we see a photo of her last day in The Cub House and attached acclimation pen.

Aster in pen

Aster in the acclimation pen for the last time.

It took Curators Coy and Janet quite a while to trap her so she could be released.  Aster behaved very much like a wild bear as she huffed, blew, and swatted her distaste for humans.  These were good signs that her wildness is intact.  When they finally were able to trap her and take her vitals, they found that she had more than doubled her weight in three weeks!  She weighed in at 32.5 pounds!  When she was able to run out into the Wild Enclosure, she immediately ran up the nearest tree.

Aster in tree

Aster ran up the nearest tree.

As she did this, the other cubs in the enclosure were startled and each of them also ran up a tree.  More good ,wild behavior.  Aster stayed in the tree, eating a few leaves and playing with the branches.  The steady rain didn’t seem to bother her at all.

Aster

Aster in the rain.

This photo shows how high she was in the tree.  That little black blob is Aster.  We can also see why she chose this tree.  If you look down, you’ll see the door to the acclimation pen is very close.

Aster in tree

Look how high she is in the tree!

Now there are eight cubs in Wild Enclosure 3.  It will be interesting to see how the others react to her and she to them, when she feels comfortable enough to come down.  Their first reaction was one of fear, which is very typical of bears.  Although many humans would not believe this, bears are actually fearful of many things, including each other and us.