The sad news – and it is very sad, indeed, is that Bear #263 (Hawkins Bear) has died.  As you know, he was hit by a car in early June, and after examination at UT College of Veterinary Medicine he had been recovering at ABR, taking antibiotics and pain meds in his food, which he ate with relish.  The curators tried to make his life as pleasant as possible, even installing a pool on his platform when he was not climbing down.  His climbing and movement seemed to be improving, but then he was found to have an abscess.  This meant more meds.  Hawkins was tolerating captivity, more than most yearling bears would, but it was assumed that his body needed the  healing rest.

He was taken back to UT on July 12th for a follow up exam, and the news was not good.  An MRI revealed that his jaw had actually been fractured in the accident, even though it did not show up in his earlier examination.  Treatment would have required the extraction of additional teeth and the wiring of his jaw to immobilize it for up to a year.  Obviously, this would make it impossible for him to live a normal, wild life.  The vets, wildlife officers and curator reluctantly agreed that the kindest thing would be euthanization.

It is always very difficult to see one of our bears die while in our care and not be able to be released, but we don’t want to have the animal endure additional suffering.  And so we must say goodbye to our Hawkins Bear.  At least his death was as humane as possible.  And as is true of each cub and yearling we care for, we learned vital lessons from him.

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The happy yearling news is that the elusive Summitt Bear made an appearance, looking very handsome.

Summitt

Summitt was in view, resting on the branches of a tree. He looks relaxed.

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A closer view shows how relaxed he was – he is sleeping with a branch for a pillow!

Our other yearling, Dani Bear, did not appear for this photo shoot.  We’ll catch her next time.