Bear Feature Stories & Photos

The curators are trying hard to make Clementine a happy bear.  They have provided a tree, the pool, the honey log, a bed and Sam bear to her Acclimation Pen.  In spite of all this, Clementine shows that what she really wants is to get out of the pen and into the Wild Enclosure that she can see beyond the fencing.

The problem is that they want her to demonstrate that she can eat solid food – whole pears and apples, whole grapes and blueberries, and most important – the bear diet pellets before she is released into the Wild Enclosure.  They are going to back up a step and will try to confine her within The Cub House again until she shows the eating behavior they are looking for.

She was hiding in her log den on the platform when the cardinal stopped in for a snack.  (We often have visitors attracted by the food for the cubs)  The bird caused Clementine to come out of the den to see what it was.  It was her first appearance this morning.


Clementine peeks at the cardinal who had come for a snack.

Clementine is anxious to get out!  We hope she will wait just a bit longer until the curators feel she’s ready.

Clementine Bear is doing well in the Acclimation Pen that adjoins The Cub House.  She eats and sleeps, but she’s not satisfied.  We thought she would be content with being outside where she could see and smell the trees and greenery, but we were wrong.  She is already showing signs of stress at the confinement.  She indicates that she wants to be OUT of the pen and climbing those trees.


Even the large space and the addition of greenery doesn’t satisfy this cub.

She is too small to have that wish granted.  The curators want to keep her confined until she is eating only solid foods.  So Curator David brought a tree into the pen for her.


There she is, up on the platform by the tree.  Will this make her feel better?  Time will tell.

Our other little three-month-old cub, Viola Bear, hides when a curator enters the Cub Nursery.  She doesn’t hesitate to voice her displeasure and dislike of humans.


Viola Bear hides in her cub cave.

She is an active cub for one so small.


Viola climbs on the pen – she’s literally “climbing the walls.” 

It seems that both of these little cubs will give us new insight into the abilities and determination of bear cubs.  The curators are learning new things every day and trying to keep one step ahead of these precocious baby bears.

For a very small cub, Clementine Bear is quite the adventurer.  The curators saw that she was showing signs of stress in The Cub House, even with all the space and playthings.  So the gate was opened to the adjacent Acclimation Pen.


Clementine was sitting on top of her climbing logs in The Cub House. She waited a bit before coming down.


As soon as she felt safe, she climbed down and headed for the open doorway.

In the Acclimation Pen she can see and smell the Wild Enclosure’s trees, shrubs and grass.


She looks very tiny in the large outdoor pen.


Soon she climbed up to the platform.  Can she get down?


Getting down was not a problem. First to the stump……


Down she goes from the stump. Easy!


In a couple of days she’ll have the entire pen and Cub House mastered.


Clementine Bear is growing and learning as she explores.

Each bear is unique and has its own personality.  Clementine is one of the most adventurous and apparently fearless cubs we’ve seen yet.  It will be fun to watch her develop during her time at ABR.

The two little three-month-old cubs being cared for at ABR are doing well in their separate quarters.  They can’t be introduced to one another until Viola Bear’s injuries are healed.  This will no doubt take a couple of weeks.

Clementine is in The Cub House and the curators are trying to keep her interested by adding various items to her environment.


Clementine has logs to climb on. She seems intrigued by the murals painted on the walls.


Fresh greenery, provided by the curators, gives her another place to hang out.


The food log is a unique way to deliver some of her food to her.

What is inside the food log?


Yummy grapes and blueberries!


After climbing and eating, Clementine needs a nap on top of her stuffed bear, Sam.

Viola Bear is housed in The Cub Nursery to recover from her injury and its repair.


Viola Bear in her pen.


Her injury was extensive and required stitches on the back of her neck.

The UT vets took great care with the stitches.


Viola Bear has a good appetite in spite of her ordeal.

Both little bear cubs are eating and gaining weight.  We are glad that they seem to be doing well and look forward to the time when they can be together.

As promised, today we present the story of Viola Bear (ABR Cub 269) and her exam at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.  As we posted yesterday, this little three-month-old cub was found in Kentucky and after working it out between the two states, it was decided to bring her to ABR.  All cubs go first to the UT Vet School, so she was taken there.

The exam showed that she had sustained bite marks and had puncture wounds on the scruff of her neck.


Viola Bear on the examining table at UTCVM. We can see where she was injured.

The educated guess is that she was attacked by a coyote, bobcat or dog.  There was a tear in her flesh as well as the puncture wounds from a bite.


The team of vets worked on Viola. She had to have stitches both internally and externally.


It was a delicate procedure.

She was given an antibiotic injection as well as pain medication before being sent off to ABR.


Curators Janet and Tom unload Viola Bear at the Cub Nursery.


Here are some things that we hope will make her comfortable and soothed.

The fur sleeve was made from a donated fur coat, stitched by Donna Faulkner, Curator Tom’s wife.


Viola Bear slept through the night. The medications helped to make her sleep.


In the morning, Viola hid in the Cub Cave and voiced her dislike of humans when Janet entered the Cub Nursery.

Meanwhile, our other three-month-old cub, Clementine, is doing well in The Cub House since she moved there.


Clementine has the typical “Mickey Mouse” ears of a cub.

We are glad to share these photos with you.  Clementine is coming along well.  Viola will need time to heal before the two cubs can be introduced.

ABR admitted Bear Cub #269 on May 11, 2018.  A three-month-old, orphaned female, she is from Kentucky and was rescued in that adjacent state and brought to ABR for care.  Her nickname is Viola Bear.  Of course she went to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine for her intake exam, and was found to be injured.  We’ll post the details of her injury and treatment tomorrow.  Suffice it to say that at the present time she is housed in the Cub Nursery and will be monitored closely by the curators.  Here is her introductory photo.


Say hello to Cub #269 – Viola Bear from Kentucky!

Viola Bear is the same age as Clementine, but is smaller.  She weighed just 4.4 pounds, a full pound less than Clementine weighed when she arrived.

Of course we knew she was a climber – after all, as soon as she escaped from the river she scurried up a 60 foot tree!  The small pen in the Cub Nursery is “a piece of cake” for such an adventurous little climber.  These photos of her in that pen were taken just before she was moved into The Cub House, where she has other interesting things on which to test her climbing skills.


Clementine has no problem climbing up the wall of her pen. She gives a “dirty look” to the curator.


She is an active little bear cub.

The next photo was taken the day before April Bear was released back into the wild.


Big and healthy, April Bear is ready to go.

We won’t have any more photos of April, but will be updating on Clementine Bear frequently.  She’ll be an interesting cub to watch!

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