The update on Bear #248 (Skipper Bear) is that he ate a little food on his own.  That may not sound like much, but he was so very weak and malnourished when he arrived on February 6th that the vets at UT gave strict instructions to the curators about using great care in feeding him.  If a starved animal (or human, for that matter) is given too much food it can do more harm than good.  On February 7th, Curator Janet tried to give Skipper a little formula in an eyedropper, but he didn’t swallow it.  This was additional cause for concern.  However, he did take a little of the formula in his bowl today!  This doesn’t mean he is OK yet, but it does mean that he had a bit of an appetite and was able to take a step or two to the bowl.  These were big steps for this little bear that had struggled for so long.  We fervently hope his progress continues.  Here is a photo of little Skipper with his food dish (and a trace of the formula on his nose).

Skipper eats

Skipper Bear ate a little of his food, without the curator’s help.

The other two yearlings who are on a restricted diet due to their low weight and precarious condition are Bailey Bear, who escaped and was recaptured after a week, and Clarence Bear, who was admitted at the very low weight of 13 pounds.  These two are doing well, although they are still on meds and soft foods.

Clarence Bear hides in his culvert den of his outdoor acclimation pen when the curator approaches.

Clarence

Clarence goes into his culvert den to avoid the curator.

Clarence

Clarence doesn’t want to have anything to do with a human.

Bailey Bear is very active.  Despite her small size (she weighed only 11 pounds when she was returned to ABR) she huffs, blows, and chomps to show her displeasure, and climbs as high as she can in her pen in the Cub Garage.

Bailey

Bailey Bear climbs to the top of her pen, scolding the curator all the way.

The yearlings in Wild Enclosure #2 are bulking up nicely.  Here is a view of some of those little bears.

Wild Enclosure 2

The bears are looking more like bears and less like cubs.

One of the yearlings is Derby Bear, our Kentucky yearling.

Derby

Derby Bear shows his round backside.

Another yearling in Wild Enclosure 2 is Herbie Bear.

Herbie

Herbie Bear strikes a thoughtful pose.

Finally, we have a portrait of Snowflake Bear, taken by our photographer of record, Ken LaValley,who caught Snowflake resting in a tree.

Snowflake

Snowflake Bear in a tree. She has come a long way since her arrival.

We now have twenty-five yearling bears onsite.  Twenty-two of them are doing very well.  The other three are making slow progress, and we hope that continues.