Bear Feature Stories & Photos


As we continue to play catch-up with the exploding population of bears at ABR, we will add to the story of the triplet cubs who arrived on June 12.

Since they were healthy, all three of them were introduced to Taco Bear in the Hartley House. The four cubs had a great time together, playing all day long.

But a few days later, on June 21, there was a new cub on the scene. A female cub, who had somehow got her head into a plastic jar that she couldn’t get out of, made the news over a period of a week. She was spotted around the area and followed until TWRA finally caught up with her and was able to remove the jar.

Little Trouble Bear, so nicknamed because of her trouble with the jar and the trouble to all those trying to rescue her, was treed, and the TWRA biologist managed to climb up and retrieve the jar, but couldn’t catch the cub.

Here is the jar that caused so much grief to Little Trouble Bear.

Free of the jar at last, but she still needed to be captured.

Curator Coy studies the elusive cub who led him on a merry chase!

The little bear was finally captured on June 21! In spite of her week-long ordeal, she has made good progress and is currently residing in the Hartley House. We will update on her condition as well as other happenings at ABR. Watch this space.

Yesterday we posted about the three sisters who arrived at ABR and were settled into Hartley House (the male, Thistle) and Red Roof Recovery Center (his sisters, Truffle and Thyme) to separate them until they take their deworming medicine.

Thistle Bear is in the room next to Taco. They are aware of each other through scent. They will get to meet each other as soon as Thistle finishes the deworming process.

Thistle Bear enjoys eating the good bear food.

After his second dose of the medicine, Thistle snoozes.

Thyme Bear, in the Recovery Center, is taking her deworming medicine before she can be reunited with her brother and sister.

She is doing well, despite the separation from her siblings.

Truffle Sleeps next to Not a Polar Bear #2.

Meanwhile, Taco Bear eats – something he enjoys and does with relish,

Next time we’ll show how the two male cubs met. Remember, there’s still more to come! We picked a bad time to go on vacation, leaving us with a lot of catching up to do, but we will keep at it until we’re all caught up.

…and there have been many changes at ABR! Apologies for the missing days, when we were on vacation and in another country. We’ll try to get caught up in the next few days.

Big News – on June 11th, ABR admitted three sibling cubs, the same age as Taco Bear, after their mother was killed by an automobile. They are from the Sevier County area around Gatlinburg, TN. It took many hours over two days to catch them, and the TWRA officers were diligent and patient as they stayed at the scene and waited until all three cubs had been caught.

The cubs are #350, Truffle Bear – female, weighing 8.81 pounds

#351 – Thyme Bear – female, weighing 9.03 pounds

#352 – Thistle Bear – male, weighing 9.92 pounds

Here are the triplet cubs when they arrived.

The newest members of our Clan Bear – Truffle, Thyme, and Thistle Bear.

These three joined Taco Bear in the Hartley House, after having their exam and deworming treatment. More has happened since then. Stay tuned!

Tartan Bear, the yearling, has switched his sleeping place recently. Instead of sleeping on the resting platform, he is now choosing to sleep up in a tree. It’s his choice – no one tells him where to sleep (or when) so he does as he pleases.

This shot gives us a good idea of where Tartan is residing. He came down to forage before going to bed. The safety corridor is where the curators walk to throw the food over the fence for him to find.

Tartan begins his ascent to his chosen sleeping place.

Tartan is strong, and is a very good climber.

He reached his destination quickly!

He’s hard to find within the foliage, but the arrow points him out. He slept for a long time.

In the morning, when he came down to eat, he attacked a sapling! Shame, Tartan!

In the Hartley House, Taco Bear was wrestling one of his Not Taco bears. The change of diet (to puppy chow) seems to have worked. His scats are solid again.

The curators are relieved and are going to gradually reintroduce his regular bear foods, making sure that each one is tolerated by his digestive system.

Taco loves to wrestle his stuffies,

If he’s not wrestling, he plays with his swingy ball. He’s a good little bear!

It’s easy to see that Tartan and Taco Bear are doing well. They are both thriving at ABR. Keep watching for more updates.

Today we have a Facebook Live presentation by Curator Tori, with the latest information on our two bears – Tartan, the yearling and Taco, the cub. Both of these little bears (though Tartan isn’t quite so little now) are doing well. You are sure to enjoy the footage of them as they go about their lives at ABR. Click here to watch and enjoy the bears.

To start off the month of June, we will check in on both of the ABR bears. First is Tartan Yearling, out in Wild Enclosure #2.

After sleeping on his favorite branch, Tartan climbed down the tree.

On his way to forage, he took time to murdalize a tall plant. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sapling.

Tartan took a drink from the Drinking Tub.

The side of the tub is chewy, so of course Tartan chewed on it.

Then he got into the tub. Like former residents, Tartan likes to soak in the small tub. The tartan plaid arrow points to the white tips on some of his winter fur that is molting.

He multi-tasks, chewing on a leaf and wrecking the plant while soaking .

Tartan soaked for a few minutes before dashing away.

Wet Tartan Bear ran away on the platform.
He sat in the Firehose Hammock while planning what to do next.
This seemed like a good plan – Tartan went off to forage in the underbrush.

Meanwhile, back in the Hartley House, we see Taco Cub:

Taco is eating. The curators are monitoring his food, to check his scat and make sure it is healthy. They are now feeding him rice cereal and watching how it affects him and his scat.

We end with an action shot of Taco pummeling his swingy ball. He really loves it, but it’s hard to follow the action.

Taco is an active and energetic cub!
All that activity tires Taco, so he takes a nap between his two Not Bears.

June is often the month when berries are ripening. When that happens, we expect that our yearling will return to his home in the park. Keep watching.

After the recent adventures of Taco Cub and the Alien Artifact, we thought it was time to check back in with Tartan Yearling. Tartan is enjoying his life in Wild Enclosure #2, and here are some updates on him.

Tartan inspects the protected sapling. We think he has figured out that the electric wires are “fake,” but he doesn’t feel brave enough to test them.

Tartan has a favorite spot to sleep on the resting platform.

He had fun playing on the pile of branches and twigs under the platform.

Then he stood to play with the Firehose Hammock from below.

He blends into the shadows, making him hard to see.

Sun and clouds revealed the yearling and then hid him.

He climbed a tree. Luckily we knew where to look, or we wouldn’t have found him!

Tartan spent the rest of the day on his favorite branch.

But then he sprawled on the resting platform for his nighttime sleep.
Tartan is finally beginning to shed the rest of his winter fur. In a few weeks he will be sleek and shiny.

He met some bugs on the tree. It was a very short-lived friendship.

Tartan is growing and filling out nicely. As soon as the berries and other soft mast in the park is ready, we expect that he will be released back to his natural home. Watch this space.

We wondered if Taco Bear would make contact with the Alien Artifact, but circumstances intervened, so we didn’t get to find out if he would overcome his timidity after a day or so.

There seemed to be a standoff. Taco played with his swingy ball, Not Taco was a bystander, and the Alien stayed put.

Taco got a little bit closer, but was careful not to get too close.

Ignoring the Alien, Taco played with a branch while Not Taco and the Alien stood by.

Curator Tom cleaned the room and rearranged Not Taco and the Alien.

When he returned to his room, Taco retrieved Not Taco from the climbing structure.
There was a short wrestling match, which Taco won easily.

Taco stared at the Alien Artifact. Did he think he could defeat it by mind alone?
In the morning, Taco showed how well he can climb and what good balance he has by “climbing the wall.” He also left the curators a “tip” that was a bit loose, so fruit was cut back from his diet in favor of more yogurt and ground bear diet pellets.

(The safety cone is to cover the “tip”). He loves to play with the swingy ball.

We said that circumstances halted his further investigation of the Alien Artifact. When his poop became loose, the Alien was removed from his room until further notice. Perhaps it will return at a future time.

This is an enjoyable story about Taco and a treat ball that the curators provided to challenge him. It is important to stimulate him mentally while he is developing physically.

Taco spent the night sleeping on Not a Polar Bear, as usual.

While he slept, the Alien Artifact (aka treat ball) appeared in the next room.

Taco is curious but also cautious when he discovered the Alien Artifact. He didn’t go too close before retreating to the other room.

He played with his rope, but seemed to think about the object in the next room.

Peeking through the door, he sees it is still there.

He got a bit closer before retreating.

Time for a snack, Alien Artifact or not!

He went a little closer, as if asking what or who it is.

Taco decided to get Not Taco to back him up.

Taco stood up to look bigger and get a better view of the “thing.”

He dragged Not Taco out on the floor near the Alien.

Not Taco can watch the Alien Artifact.

Taco retreated to Not a Polar Bear and fell asleep, exhausted.

Not Taco, still watching, gets the Alien message: “We Come in Peace.”

Many thanks to our Facebook Administrator, whose creativity wove this story from the series of photos of Taco in the Hartley House, confronting the unfamiliar object in his room.

Today we have a link to the Facebook Live presentation by Curator Tori. She shows video of both yearling Tartan Bear and Cub Taco Bear. Tartan is seen in both daytime and nighttime mode, and Taco is playing, sleeping, and eating. It’s always enjoyable to see the footage, and to have Curator Tori’s comments makes it even more interesting. Click here to watch this latest Facebook Live.

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