After the sudden death of Cub 219 (Angelica Bear) the curators decided to take the other three recent arrivals to the UT Vet school for checkups.  Although these cubs had the benefit of being with their mothers for a longer period of time than any of the other cubs in residence, being in the wild means they may have health issues as a result.  That proved to be true, as the veterinarians of UT discovered.  Each of the three cubs – 217 (Tedford Bear), 218 (Derby Bear) and 220 (Pumpkin Bear) had slightly elevated temperatures and were found to have parasites.  Bears as a species are remarkably resistant to many diseases that plague wildlife, but they are subject to internal and external parasites.  These generally do not cause problems, but for small, malnourished cubs it can be more serious.

Here is Pumpkin Bear being examined by Dr. Sullivan, at the UT Vet school.

Vet checks Pumpkin

Dr. Sullivan gives Pumpkin Bear a checkup.

Pumpkin was found to have intestinal parasites as well as a broken canine tooth.  She was put on antibiotics and worm medicine.

Pumpkiin at vet's

Pumpkin had a broken canine tooth.

Fortunately, the tooth is a baby tooth that will be replaced by an adult tooth, so she is just being treated for possible infection.

While they were sedated for their exams Curator Coy was able to attach their eartags.  This has to be done before they are released, so when possible, it is taken care of earlier.  Medicines were prescribed for each of the little bears, and when they returned to ABR the three cubs were placed in separate acclimation pens so as to avoid any transmission of infection or parasites between them.  They will have to remain in the pens for several days, until the medicines have been used up.  The medicine is mixed into soft foods (applesauce, yogurt, grapes) and they have plenty of water to drink.

Each of the pens was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before the cubs were placed back in them.  Here is Tedford in his acclimation pen after returning from UT.  He demonstrates good wild bear behavior by hiding from view.


Tedford hides behind a “tree” in the pen.

Meanwhile, out in the Wild Enclosures, the other cubs are doing well and showing the results of good nutrition.

three cubs

Three chubby cubs in a. tree

The cubs forage, rest, and sometimes they sit like the cub in this picture.  Sorry it isn’t a better photo, but we think it is an amusing picture.

Relaxing cubs.

Relaxing cubs.

Here is Carter Bear in a favorite tree.

Carter Bear

Carter Bear relaxes in the tree.

Caring for these bear cubs is a strenuous job that requires a massive amount of dedication and wisdom.  We are proud of our curators, who must make many difficult decisions.