The two smallest cubs – #222 Shelby and #223 Tucker – are both in The Cub House now.  The curator felt it was too cold for Shelby to remain in the outdoor acclimation pen.  Although healthy bears don’t mind the cold at all, our two most recent arrivals are still in a fragile state.  They don’t have the fat or the thick fur to insulate them against these cold nights.  The Cub House was designed and built for this purpose – to give fragile cubs a place that is more sheltered.  There are two “rooms,” separated by a sliding door that can be opened/closed remotely.  Tucker was in one side and Shelby was introduced to the other side.  When it was time for The Cub House to be cleaned, the curator had to confine them together.  The two tiny cubs met for the first time, and it didn’t go very well.  These photos show what happened.

First we see Tucker Bear in The Cub House.

Tucker Bear

Tucker Bear in The Cub House.

Shelby was introduced into Tucker’s space and he asserted himself by climbing up on the stump and vocalizing at her.

Tucker on stump

Tucker shows his dominance.

Shelby was frightened and cowered in the corner.

Shelby cowers

Shelby cowers as Tucker vocalizes.

As soon as she returned to her side of The Cub House, she climbed as high as she could and hid in a small space near the top of the room.  She was all but invisible there, and the curator had to look hard to find her.

Shelby hides

It’s hard to see Shelby in the dark space.

An interesting point is that Shelby weighed a pound more than Tucker when they each came in a week ago.  She weighed 8.8 pounds, and he weighed just 7.7 pounds.  But apparently he was more assertive, and was able to intimidate Shelby.

An even more interesting development was that the day after this tense meeting the curator discovered that Shelby had returned to visit Tucker, and they were curled up together by the stump!  Shelby had found a small crawl space between the roof and the wall and had squeezed through to visit the other cub.  It’s hard to understand why she did that after being cowed by his behavior on the previous day, but we think like humans, not like bear cubs.  They were separated again, so that each cub is sure to get the food and medicine he/she needs without interference, but we will be interested to see how their relationship develops, especially after they are released into the Wild Enclosure.