The 14-month-old yearling bear at ABR, nicknamed Summitt, is a typical black bear in that he prefers to be up as high as possible.  Being up high means safety for cubs and yearlings, and it often is possible to see bears in trees, if you look carefully.  We have a couple of photos of Summitt relaxing on the shelf in his Acclimation Pen.  He seems quite content.

Summitt

Summitt Bear climbs up to his shelf to rest.

Summitt

A black bear is not easy to see in the shadows.

Curator Coy went out again to check for one of our former residents, following the GPS collar signal.  He found out where the bear is hibernating – in a tree den.  Tree dens are the most often used cavities by bears in the Smokies.

Tree den

The hole in the tree is high off the ground.

Here is a zoomed in photo of the den.

Tree den

There is a bear inside this hole in the tree!

Coy’s team of helpers include his advisor, Dr. Joe Clark, a fellow student and a wildlife officer.

Coy and team

Coy and his team in the woods.

Amazing as it seems, bears have no difficulty fitting themselves into a tree den like this.  Because they do not have clavicles that are rigid like ours, they can collapse their shoulders and if their head fits into the hole, the rest of the body will follow.  Coy predicts that the young bear in this den will emerge soon.  Then Coy will have to go back out and find the collar that is programmed to drop off.  Collecting dropped collars has kept our curator busy of late.