Bear cubs are very hard on trees, particularly young saplings.  In the wild, cubs don’t spend as much time in one place as do our ABR cubs during their stay with us, but the branches of favorite trees and the poor saplings suffer from over use during the months of cub residence.  When Curator Coy discovered a couple of “murdered” saplings during his observation time, he took these photos to tell a tongue-in-cheek crime story.

broken branch and sapling

The evidence – a broken branch and a “murdered” sapling.


Closeup of sapling.

The method by which the young tree was killed was undoubtedly one or more cubs pulling on it and bending it over until it finally snapped.  We have seen cubs do this in the past.  They like to bend a sapling down and let it spring back up.   Let’s look at the “suspects.”


Suspect #1 – Andy Bear.


We think Andy has a decidedly guilty look.


In this frontal view, he looks even more guilty.


Suspect #2 – Finnegan Bear.


Finn leaves the scene – this might be proof of his guilt.


Suspect #3 – Eliza Bear tries to look innocent.


To us, it almost appears that Andy is laughing, as in “you can’t prove a thing!”

Of course, this entire post is an exercise in humor and anthropomorphism.  The images just seem to tell the “crime” story so well.  And it is very true that cubs are hard on the trees in the enclosure.  That is why we have four Wild Enclosures, in order to rotate the use from year to year, allowing some to recover from cubby abuse.  Last year, because of the very large number of cubs we had to use all four enclosures.  This year, with our much smaller cub population, the other three enclosures are resting.  They will be ready for cubs that may need our help next year.