Bear Feature Stories & Photos

ABR Bear #273 arrived on the night of the 18th, and after a trip to UT for his checkup (yes, this cub is the second male for the year) Curator Coy brought him back to ABR by 3:00 AM on July 19th.  #273 is another “cub of the year,” like Viola and Willow.  He is now residing in the Acclimation Pen overlooking the Wild Enclosure where the two female cubs are residing.

#273 is nicknamed Bosco Bear.  He weighs 17.6 pounds, a good weight for a wild cub, and the UT vets pronounced him healthy.

We have a photo of him at UT and one of him in Acclimation Pen #4. Hopefully, he will join Viola and Willow in the Wild Enclosure soon.

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Bosco Bear at UT and in the Acclimation Pen at ABR.

We are sure that Bosco Bear will fit right in with the other two cubs and we look forward to watching their reactions to each other.  Welcome, Bosco Bear!


We have some photos of the four ABR bears just being normal bears in their enclosures.  They are interesting and fun to watch.


Bumble B. Bear hides in the underbrush.


Magnolia, balanced on the log, takes a drink from her pool.


Magnolia prepares to climb a tree.


Up she goes.


Magnolia is a good climber.


She reaches her resting place, turning it into a Magnolia tree.


Willow and Viola Bear have decided to become swimmers.

Each of the bears does what he or she wants to do.  There are many choices for them.  They are progressing nicely.


As promised, we are sharing photos of the remaining four bears after the death of little cub Clementine.  Of course we don’t know how her death has affected the others.  Bears do not share their feelings.  They seem to be going on about their business as usual.  Death is a part of life for wild animals, and indeed for all of us, and life goes on.

First we’ll check on the other two cubs.  Willow Bear is resting on the platform, no doubt trying to keep cool in the shade.


Willow Bear on the platform.


She rolls over. It’s a lazy day.


Willow Bear is not using much energy.

It would be easy for us to anthropomorphize and say she’s sad and missing her pal, Clementine.  However, we don’t know what she may be thinking.  It’s quite possible that she is simply resting to stay comfortable in the heat.

Viola Bear was on the tire bridge.


The tire bridge has been a favorite place for the cubs.


Viola shifts position to rest more comfortably.


She turns over. Does the tire seem smaller than it used to?


She seems to have trouble getting comfy.


Another adjustment of position.


Viola is a contortionist!

In her enclosure, we see Magnolia Bear.


Magnolia strikes a pose. Ears are on alert.


Magnolia moves through the enclosure.


She cools off by sitting in her drinking tub. Silly bear!

Bumble B. Bear really likes his Cubby Pool.


Bumble spends a lot of time in his “swimmin’ hole.”

So there we have it – life is continuing as usual for our remaining bears.  We humans must follow their lead.



When when working with wildlife, unexpected things can happen, and sometimes those things are very sad.  On the morning of July 12th all five of the bears in the care of ABR were doing well.  That evening, however, our little cub #268, Clementine Bear, was found dead in the Wild Enclosure.

Following protocol, Curators David and Tom retrieved her body and after getting permission from TWRA, the agency in charge of #268, transferred the body to UT where a necropsy will be performed.  The curators are of the opinion that her death resulted from a fall from a tree.

As we know, bear cubs are very much at home in trees.  They often climb very high to take a nap, rest or play.  Trees represent safety to little bears and their mothers teach them to climb up out of harm’s way.  It has been said that bear cubs spend so much time in trees that they can almost be called arboreal mammals.

It is heartbreaking to lose one of our cubs, but undoubtedly this happens in the wild, as well, and no one knows about it.  Life goes on, and as we say “good-bye” to Clementine we must focus on the other two cubs and the two yearlings who remain at ABR.

Here is a recent photo of Clementine Bear.  Rest in peace, little one.


In Memoriam.

The other bears are doing well.  Our next post will be a happier one, about Viola, Willow, Magnolia and Bumble B.




It’s been very hot here in Tennessee, even in the mountains.  What do our ABR cubs and yearlings do in the heat?  Here is another delightful video that answers the question.  Watch as each bear tries to stay comfortable in his or her own way.  Click here to see what the bears do on a very hot day.

Just like their wild cousins, the ABR cubs and yearlings are in the midst of a growth spurt.  It brings to mind the rapid growth of human teenagers.  Seems like our cubs suddenly have longer legs.  Their appetites are good, and the food is fueling their growth.


Clementine has become a leggy cub.


Viola has a new use for the tire bridge – as a seat!


Willow is on alert. She heard a human approach.


Willow plays it safe and climbs the tree. Good bear behavior!


Viola does her “meerkat” impression. Actually, she stands to figure out what caught her attention.


Is this her opinion of the curators? Could be.


The previous differences in size are not so obvious now.

It’s really amazing to see how similar the three cubs are to each other in size.  If you recall, Clementine was noticeably larger a few weeks ago.

Yearling bears are known for their long legs.  In this photo of Bumble B., he’s lying down so we can’t see his legs.  However, we are sure that just like the cubs, our yearlings are looking leggier also.


Bumble B. is continuing to shed his winter coat. Bears shed from the head back.

Magnolia Bear did not appear at this time. Perhaps we’ll see her next time.  Meanwhile, they will all keep at the business of growing.



Remembering that our cubs and yearlings are wearing permanent, black fur coats, it’s not too surprising that they enjoy their respective pools.  Today’s post reflects that fact.


Viola Bear in the Cubby Pool. Her friends, Clementine and Willow are out of sight, but not far away, we’re sure.


Magnolia Bear climbs out of her pool.


Magnolia is filling out very nicely.


Magnolia rests in the shade. This is another good place to keep cool.


Bumble B. really enjoys the water in his Cubby Pool.


Bumble splashes in the water. He appears to be smiling.


After his swim he shreds a log to get insects for a snack. Yum!

The bears at ABR are living easygoing, relaxed lives as they get ready for their release into the wild.  We hope you enjoy following them.

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