As promised, we will continue the story of the two Alabama cubs, Big Al and Aubie. They arrived at ABR on March 9th. A team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine made a house call to give them their intake exam, and they are healthy, weighing about 5 pounds each. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources searched for a suitable surrogate mother (or two) who might foster the little cubs. If foster mothers can be found, that would be a much better placement for the two little cubbies.

Meanwhile, the curators are keeping very busy, rescheduling their time in order to be able to feed them every four hours. They get bear milk replacement formula in bottles. We went through one feeding to show how they accomplish that task.

There are two cubs in that pen!
The night vision camera lets us see what is going on. Curator Matthew is on the night shift again.
Matthew checks his watch. The cubs are fed every four hours, around the clock.
After feeding, the cubs sleep again.
It’s morning, and Curator Coy is on duty.
Break time for Not a Polar Bear.

Later in the morning, the cubs are awake and practicing their coordination. Not an easy thing to do! They are trying to get their legs to move in the direction that their brains dictate. It’s slow going.

Aubie Bear is sprouting her first baby teeth! We can imagine the squeals coming out of her mouth!
She proves that even baby bears have long tongues.
The twins are working on their coordination. Aubie is the “big mouth.”
Aubie chomps on her brother. Look at his expression! Chomping is a favorite activity, along with bopping each other.
They snuggle to sleep together.
Occasionally, Aubie is quiet and assumes a relaxed pose.
Turn about is fair play – Big Al chomps his sister’s neck.

On March 15, after almost a week at ABR, the Alabama wildlife officers located two females who had given birth to cubs! Each one had two cubs of her own, so the decision was made to introduce one ABR cub to each family. This, of course, was the best possible outcome for Big Al and Aubie. Their new mamas will raise them along with their own cubs, and their short lives at ABR will be forgotten as they grow up to be wild bears.

The cubs leaving ABR, headed home to Alabama and their new families.

It has been a very busy couple of months to start the year. We wish these little bear cubs, as well as Furman long, healthy, and happy lives back in the wild where they belong. We can’t help but wonder what will happen next! Stay tuned.