The two-month-old black bear cub being cared for at ABR has grown since his arrival, thanks to the rich bear replacement formula.  We reported on Curator Coy’s clever “Cub Feeder,” that allows the curators to provide the necessary nutrition to little Finnegan without needing to hold him.  Our curators must keep contact to a minimum when dealing with a very young cub to avoid imprinting or habituation to humans. The Cub Feeder serves this purpose, but the cub must be weaned from the bottle as soon as possible.  Even though cubs in the wild will continue to nurse even as they are learning to forage alongside their mothers, an ABR cub must learn to lap the formula from a bowl so that the bottles can be withdrawn.

Curator Coy is trying to accustom Finnegan to the idea by placing a bowl inside the pen.  The bowl has a little formula in it, the idea being that he will discover that this is another way to get the formula he likes and needs.  At first, Finnegan was suspicious of the new object in his pen.  He huffed at it!  Coy assumes that after a bit of time to get used to it, Finnegan will discover the new way to get his formula.

Here is a photo taken after Finnegan finished his breakfast (from the Cub Feeder) and promptly went to sleep.We can see the bowl in his pen.

Finnegan

Finnegan naps after his breakfast. The bowl is in the other side of the pen.

The other 25 bears currently at ABR are yearlings.  They have thrived, gained weight, overcome earlier obstacles and they are ready for their second chance at a wild life.  They will be released soon.  Here is one of them, pondering the tire bridge that is in the enclosure.

Yearling

Yearling looking at the tire bridge.

Yearling

The yearling sits on the tire bridge while holding onto the tree.

The tire bridge is a good means of exercise and muscle strengthening activity for the little bears.  It challenges them and they enjoy playing on it.