Appalachian Bear Rescue has arbitrarily chosen January 22nd as the “official birthday” of all of our cubs.  It’s arbitrary, but the date is in the middle of the potential birthdates for bear cubs – between mid-January and mid-February.

Our two cubs – Otto and Rollo – are four months old now, and our yearling, Summitt Bear, is sixteen months old!

The cubs are getting along very well together in their Acclimation Pen.  They usually stay close together.  The only times there may be disagreements are at feeding time.  Rollo, though much smaller than Otto, set the larger cub straight when he tried to take some of Rollo’s food – he gave Otto a swat!  Now they seem to be able even to eat next to each other peacefully.

Otto - Rollo

Otto and Rollo share the platform in the Acclimation Pen.

Summitt Bear has reached the age at which family break-up occurs.  This is when mother bears send their yearlings off to live their lives as wild bears, without the protection of their mother, who is getting ready to breed again.  In the wild it is a scary time for these small, young bears.  Yearlings are the bears who get into trouble most often as they try to make their way and find a territory.  They are the lowest in the bears’ hierarchy.

Summitt Bear is content to be alone, as he would be in the wild.  He is making good progress and will be ready for release before too much longer.  In the wild, a yearling and the cubs would never meet; ABR keeps them separated, also.  We have seen how hard it is for the curators to photograph the elusive yearling who spends much of his time hidden in underbrush.  Curator Janet was able to capture a photo of Summitt resting in a tree during a rainstorm.

Summitt

Summitt Bear hangs out (literally) in a tree.

Little bears seem to like to be up in trees when it’s raining.  They feel safer there.  To us, it would seem more sensible to retreat to a culvert den or to go into thick underbrush, but we aren’t bears and don’t think the way they do.