Bear Feature Stories & Photos


As we stated in yesterday’s post, India Bear was released into Wild Enclosure #4, to join Bourbon, Cheers, and Prost. Today we have a video of the procedure that Curators Janet and Quanah used to accomplish the move. They had to be a bit sneaky in order to get the little cub into the carrier with no hands-on intervention. Click here to see how the two curators achieved their goal of moving India Bear from the Hartley House into Wild Enclosure #4.

Every day the bear cubs in Wild Enclosures at ABR must decide how to spend their time. They don’t realize it, of course, but as they decide what to do, they are also learning new things and preparing themselves for their eventual release and lives in the wild. India Bear, in Wild Enclosure #1 tried several different positions on the resting platform. She finally decided that she prefers the belly up pose.

India Bear lies on her back, paws up.
In Enclosure #3, Cosmo settles himself in a tire.
Barley tries another way to fit into the tire.
Hops isn’t sure if he will still fit into the tire. The cubs are chubbifying and it’s getting harder for them to fit these days.
All Bourbon needs is a snorkel to scope out what is on the bottom of the pool.
What did you find, Bourbon?
Another cub comes to help. We think they are looking for peanuts or other snacks in the depths.

The cubs stay busy with these various activities. It’s obvious that they are growing! What will they think of next? Watch this space.

Another month – another birthday celebration!

As you know, ABR has chosen January 22 as the official birthday of every cub and yearling who comes to us for help. This date is approximately in the middle of possible birth dates for bear cubs. So on September 22, 2021 we celebrated the 8-month birthday of the class of 2021. Here are some recent photos of them.

Three bears – Hops (#333), Cosmo (#338), and Lemon Drop (#337) are 8 months old!

Barley Bear is 8 months old!
The siblings, Prost and Cheers, are 8 months old!

Bourbon Bear is 8 months old!
India Bear, the latest arrival, is 8 months old! She looks lonely in her enclosure. Hopefully she can be introduced to others soon.

As we have said before, each month in a bear cub’s first year is a milestone worthy of a celebration. We are happy that our cubs have made it through their first eight months of life, and hopeful that they will celebrate many more of these milestones. Happy birthday to all bear cubs and bears everywhere!

We’ve seen that when it rains the cubs usually retreat to the upper branches of trees and stay there. This rainy day was no different. No cubs were visible for most of the day. Finally, however, we did see some of our ursine residents.

In Wild Enclosure #1, India Bear, having just been released into the enclosure, made an appearance on the platform.

She seems to be smiling her approval of being outdoors again.

In Wild Enclosure #3, the boys – Hops, Barley, and Cosmo, eventually braved the weather to forage in the rain.

Do these cubs look healthy, or what? We’d say they are looking quite plump!
Up above, Lemon Drop sat in the branches of a tree, looking down at the boys. We wonder if the tongue out is her assessment of the weather, or what.

The cubs in Wild Enclosure #4 did not show themselves at all. Maybe next time . . . watch this space.

Look fast – she doesn’t stay in one place very long at all! We have a short video of India Bear as she exited the Acclimation Pen for Wild Enclosure #1 and came bounding out into the enclosure. It’s easy to see how happy and excited she was to be released and out in the “wild” again. If you checked the Facebook Live segment we posted yesterday you saw her in W.E. #1, but we think you’ll enjoy this short clip anyway. When the UT vets have the results of the necropsy performed on India’s sibling, the curators plan to move her into the enclosure with Cheers, Prost, and Bourbon. But they want to be sure that there is no issue that would make that move unwise. Better safe than sorry, as the familiar saying goes. Click here to see the little bear enjoying her first taste of the Wild Enclosure.

Curator Coy opened the gate to Acclimation Pen #1, to allow India Bear access to the outdoors, hoping that would satisfy her until they could release her into Wild Enclosure #4. However, it wasn’t enough, and she let Coy know very quickly that she wanted to REALLY be out where she could climb the trees and run around!

So, the next step was to open the Acclimation Pen gate and let her out into Wild Enclosure #1. When the necropsy on her sibling is completed and the results are in, she will be introduced to the three cubs in Enclosure #4, but for now, she will have #1 all to herself. Curator Janet, in her Facebook Live, started with video of India Bear getting acquainted with her new outdoor space. She runs, climbs, and swims and seems very happy to be outside again. Click here to watch India and to see updated footage of the other enclosures, as well.

Today we present photos from our amazing security cams that show the cubs in both of the Wild Enclosures as well as the most recent arrival, India Bear, in Hartley House.

First up is Enclosure #4.

All three of the cubs (Prost, Cheers, and Bourbon) are swimming in their pool among peanuts, apples, and other treats.
A lovely portrait of Cheers Bear, looking thoughtful.
Bourbon Bear forages for peanuts.
The three cubs forage together. There is plenty of food for all.
Cheers sits in the Drinking Tub. Just big enough for one cub.

Now to Wild Enclosure #3, home to Hops, Barley, Cosmo, and Lemon Drop.

Cosmo Bear balances on the edge of the pool while holding an apple! Good trick!
Four cubs a-foraging.
Lemon Drop and friend.
India chows down on her apples, pears, peaches, and acorns. Yum!
With a full tummy, India Bear sleeps peacefully.

That’s the news for today. Those cameras are wonderful! Everyone is doing well.

Now that the cubs are exhibiting hyperphagia, we will review what is on their menu. We’re sure you will agree that it sounds quite tasty (except for a couple of items, that is).

In both of the Wild Enclosures, the curators are serving acorns, whole peanuts, pecans, apples, bear diet pellets, pears, peaches, nectarines, figs, and fresh water.

In the Hartley House, India Bear is dining on whole peanuts, bear diet pellets, acorns, pecans, apples, peaches, grapes, honeycomb, yogurt, mealworms, peanut butter, and fresh water.

Judging by their enthusiasm for eating the foods, we are sure they would give a round of applause to the chefs!

Question to ponder – how many cubs are relaxing on the platform in this picture?
Lemon Drop Bear waiting for service. She is chubbifying nicely!
Cubs in Wild Enclosure #4 are foraging, even in their pool!
India enjoys getting treats (peanut butter, honeycomb, mealworms) from her treat ball.

It won’t be long before India joins the three cubs in Wild Enclosure #4. We can’t wait to see how she fits in with the group. Stay tuned.

The cubs are busy foraging, spending a lot of time looking for, finding, and consuming the food that the curators throw over the fence into the enclosures. But being cubs, they also have to take play (or wrestling) breaks in between foraging sessions.

Lemon Drop forages and peeks out between the branches.
Barley looks around as if to say “Did you call?”
After his real swim yesterday, Hops is back to his favorite drinking tub pool.
Eureka! Hops found a bunch of grapes in the drinking tub!
Two of the cubs in Wild Enclosure #4 stop foraging to dance (?) or wrestle.
More wrestling in Wild Enclosure #4.
In the Hartley House, India Bear is enjoying all the enrichment items that the curators provide.

It’s good to see all of our cubs doing well. Should be interesting to watch them grow and gain weight during hyperphagia.

If you watched the Facebook Live that we posted yesterday, you already saw this, but in case you missed it (or just because it’s worth seeing again) here is a very short video clip of our reluctant swimmer actually leaping into the water and then staying there! It’s been several months since Hops moved from Hartley House into the Wild Enclosure, and in all the weeks he’s been there, it’s almost like he swore an oath to never go in and get thoroughly wet. But – whoa! – he took a flying leap and landed smack in the water, where he stayed, swimming and wrestling with the other cubs. Click here to watch and be prepared to chuckle as you think it couldn’t have happened. Now the question is if it will happen again. Time will tell. Stay tuned.

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