In the last few days, ABR has experienced a very sad event, the passing of Cub #219 (Angelica Bear) and happier news, an opportunity for us to help another cub in need – Cub #220 (Pumpkin Bear).

You will remember that Cub #219 arrived at ABR just a few days ago, on October 19th.  Here is the first picture we had of her, when she was housed in our Cub Nursery overnight.

angelica Bear

Cub #219 – Angelica Bear in Cub Nursery .

The next day she was transferred to the outdoor acclimation pen where #218 – Derby Bear was residing.  They were being watched carefully by the curators to make sure the cubs were able to coexist.


Angelica Bear in outdoor acclimation pen.

Angelica and Derby

Angelica and Derby Bear.

There were no indications that anything was wrong.  We didn’t know what had happened to Angelica’s mother that caused her to her her to be an orphan and there were no outward signs of problems, other than the usual hunger and dehydration that affects all cubs when they are rescued.  But on her fifth day at Appalachian Bear Rescue Curator Coy found her body when he went to deliver food to the two cubs.  He and Curator Janet immediately took the body to the UT Veterinary school for a necropsy.  They found no obvious cause of death.  In a couple of weeks the results of lab work will be completed and we hope to learn from those results .  Losing a cub is incredibly painful for the curators and for all of us at ABR.  Our mission is to care for them and prepare them for life in the wild.  We grieve each time one of these little bears doesn’t make it, but we must carry on and continue to help as many cubs in need as we can.  We do not know the circumstances that led to her becoming an orphan, but we can take a measure of comfort from the fact that in her last few days she was safe and well fed.

Now for the happier news – the arrival of Cub #220.  On the same day that Curator Coy discovered, the body of Cub #219, he admitted another orphaned cub, #220.  This is another female cub, found in Maryville, TN.  She had been in a tree in someone’s backyard and with no mother in sight the TWRA officer rescued her and transferred her to ABR, where she is housed in one of the outdoor acclimation pens.  She weighed 24 pounds on admittance, which is a low but reasonable weight for a wild cub.  Her nickname is Pumpkin Bear, in honor of the fall season of pumpkins.  Here she is.

Pumpkin Bear

Cub #220 – Pumpkin Bear.

So far in 2015 we have cared for 18 rescued cubs, of which four have been released. Statistically, in any given year half of the cubs born that year will not live to see their first birthday. Most, if not all of the cubs we have admitted would not have survived without our intervention.  We will continue to help any cubs that come our way in need of care.