On Valentines Day, ABR received the first cubs of 2021! It’s much too early, of course, but a large sow had denned in the crawl space under a house. The homeowners called for the repair of a gas leak, and the repairman discovered the bear. TWRA was called, and it was learned that the bear was a female who had three tiny cubs-of-the-year. Frightened, the mother bear ran off, but the TWRA officer called Curator Coy who, with Curator Matthew went to meet the officer and then took the cubs to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

The three cubs are all females, so young that their eyes are not open as yet, and they weigh about 2 pounds each. Since they are no more than one month old, the weights are healthy and the cubs appear to be well. They are ABR Bears #326 (Jasmine), #327 (Jeannie), and #328 (Magic). If possible, they will be fostered to a sow who is in a den and has a cub(s) of her own. In February 2020, a tiny cub from KY arrived at the end of the month. Within a week, a surrogate mother was found, and the cub was placed in her den, even though it meant he became a TN bear. The KY wildlife agency approved the change of state for the cub.

Since ABR has the cubs, at least for now, here are their pictures during their exam at UT:

Look how tiny they are! And yet, they have grown a lot since birth.

Bear cubs at birth are about the size of a soda can, and weigh less than one pound, so we can see that they have grown, thanks to the rich milk from their mama. Curators Coy and Matthew are feeding the little girls Fox Valley Bear Milk Replacer formula. Last night it was diluted to half strength, but today they have increased it to full strength. Curator Quanah will join the team and the three curators will work out a duty schedule, to watch over these little cubs 24/7 and feed them every three hours for as long as they remain at ABR. We will hope for the best! Stay tuned.