Our last post reviewed the ABR lives of our yearlings, Summitt and Dani Bear.  This post will focus on the three cubs – Otto, Rollo and Apollo Bear.  Each of them arrived at a different time, but they all were released on the same date – December 4, 2017.

Otto Bear was the first 2017 cub to be brought to ABR when he was not quite three months old.  He was found out of a den much too soon, and the wildlife officer couldn’t find the den from which he had come.  Therefore, the best place for him to receive help was ABR.

When we receive a very small cub, the curators provide some comfort by placing stuffed animals in the pen for company.


Otto was so small that his stuffed companions were as big as he was!

Next to arrive about three weeks later was Rollo Bear.


Rollo Bear on his way to ABR after his rescue.

At first, since Rollo had lived in the wild with his mother (and possibly siblings) he knew more about being a bear than Otto.  However, because Otto had been receiving a much enriched diet at ABR, the size difference between them was very noticeable.

Rollo and Otto

Otto was much larger than Rollo Bear, but they both liked to eat!

Rollo and Otto

Rollo got into his food, literally!

In August a cub, crossing the highway with his family, was hit by a car.  The cub was rescued and taken to the UT Vet School, where X-rays revealed that he had suffered a broken leg.  The cub was otherwise healthy and of a good weight for a wild cub.  Because this occurred at the time of the solar eclipse the cub was nicknamed Apollo.


Apollo Bear had a broken right front leg.

Because of the break, which had been repaired by means of plates, Apollo had to be confined in a pen with lowered ceiling so he couldn’t climb.  He had to stay quiet for a few weeks.


This image clearly shows where he was shaved for the surgery.


Medication permitted him to get the rest he needed.

Within a month, Apollo was able to join Otto and Rollo Bear in the Wild Enclosure.  They soon bonded and spent the months playing, sleeping, resting and eating together.  They did a lot of eating, as it was hyperphasia time for bears, when they eat tremendous quantities of food in order to prepare for hibernation.  As these pictures show, they grew and “chubbified,” our word for cubs gaining weight.

Rollo and Otto

Rollo and Otto were much bigger now.


Apollo had grown, also.

3 cubs

By late November the cubs spent time in daybeds they created.

3 cubs

The time for their release was approaching.

When they were worked up for release, each cub weighed over 100 pounds!  Rollo Bear, who had started out smaller than either of the others, weighed the most – 104 pounds!  They are out in the wild now, living the lives they were meant to live.  We hope that each of these special cubs has a long and healthy life.

ABR is not likely to receive any cubs until at least the spring of 2018 when mother bears bring their new cubs out of the den to begin their lives.  Although we would like to see every bear family stay together as nature intended, we know that we will likely be called upon to help one or more little bears.  We stand ready to assist as needed.