Bear Feature Stories & Photos


Although it was not planned as such, a new addition to the Cub House “dining room” became a challenging activity for Boudreaux Bear. The curators had switched the cubs’ food to all solids, eliminating the porridge. This is to prepare them for their release into the Wild Enclosure, which will take place soon. The curators had put new boxes containing the Bear Diet Pellets into the Cub House, hoping to curtail the random scattering of their food and to give them snacks that would always be available.

Something new excites the cubs’ curiosity.
They must examine this new object, and figure out how they can use (or destroy) it.
Boudreaux thinks it could be a chair.

He decides to take it outside.
Beignet is minding her own business. (A “monkey cub” is on the fence)
Boudreaux works hard – what is he doing?
He is persistent. Where is he going?
Boudreaux is almost finished with his project.

Curiosity gets the best of Beignet. She goes to investigate.
Boudreaux got the box under the boardwalk!
One of the triplet cubs stops by to see what’s going on.
From outside the fence, here is the result of Boudreaux’s efforts.

Bears (including cubs) are curious. Bears (including cubs) are persistent. And bears (including cubs) are very intelligent . Boudreaux proved these facts through his “box project.”

The five cubs in the Cub House have become buddies. Although there are two families represented – the Beary triplets and the Cajun twins – all five of the cubs act like one big, happy family. They play together, wrestle each other, and sleep in a cubby pile on the platform.

Boudreaux and Beignet eat; two of the triplets wrestle.
Hucklebeary and Bluebeary would rather wrestle than eat.
The triplets are focused on their wrestling match. Boudreaux and his sister are focused on eating.
Boxing replaces wrestling . The Cajun twins have almost finished the breakfast.

Blackbeary is the only triplet who doesn’t join in on the wrestling match.
Wrestling is over and all of the cubs decide to eat what’s left.


The two newest arrivals in the Cub Nursery are spending a lot of time sleeping, something they need to do.

Dandelion and Bentley sleep in their pen in the Cub Nursery.
Bentley does a little exploring of the pen.
Then it’s back to sleep. Bentley feels comfortable enough to lie on his back.

Out in the Wild Enclosure, two of the three yearlings are sharing the platform.

Daffodil and Iris Bear sleep on the platform.
Iris starts to wake up early in the morning.

Sweetie Bear may have been sleeping on Milo’s stump, one of her favorite places, with only enough room for one.

It’s good to see everyone doing so well.

Now that we have 10 bears at ABR we need to review where they are currently residing.

We’ll start with the newest arrivals, Dandelion and Bentley Bear. The smallest cubs are in the Cub Nursery, being watched very closely by the curators. They have been sleeping a lot since they arrived earlier this week. No doubt they were exhausted from their ordeal of trying to survive on their own and then from the stress of capture. Rest is what they need.

Sleeping cubs. They need lots of rest.

The remainder of the cub population: the Beary triplets and the Cajun twins, are all in the Cub House where they eat, wrestle, and play both inside and outside in the Acclimation Pen.

Breakfast is served, and Boudreaux comes to the table right away.
In no time, other cubs join him for the meal.
All cubs accounted for. Beignet swings through breakfast.

The three yearlings, Iris, Daffodil, and Sweetie Bear are together in Wild Enclosure #3. We have a photo of two of the yearlings today.

Daffodil and Sweetie are relaxed as they snooze on the platform. Iris is hidden in the underbrush.

All of the bears are doing well, we’re glad to say.

On June 4th, two more cubs were brought to ABR, albeit separately. First one in was #293, nicknamed Dandelion Bear. A 4-month-old female cub from Polk County, Dandelion was found on a road and picked up by TWRA. When taken to UT for the usual exam at entrance, the cub weighed only 4.18 pounds, or about half of what she should have weighed. Apparently she had survived (for how long we don’t know, but it is suspected that she was on her own for several days, at least) by eating blackberries and drinking water from a ditch.

Tiny, orphaned Dandelion Bear weighed just over 4 pounds.

Dandelion Bear at UTCVM.
Dr. Duvall and her team examine Dandelion Bear.

The little cub is basically healthy, but underweight. She will be given bear milk replacement formula in small amounts until her system can handle more.

Dandelion Bear has her baby teeth. They look good.
Dandelion Bear is in the Cub Nursery for careful monitoring sue to her small size.

But that’s not all! Late that same night, the TWRA officer brought Dandelion’s brother, ABR Bear #294. He had searched for the second cub, after it was reported that people had seen two orphans. Curator Coy took the little male cub, nicknamed Bentley Bear for the town of Benton near where the cubs were found, to UT the next morning.

Bentley Bear is twice the weight of his sister at 8.58 pounds. He is healthy except for some ticks and slight anemia. He was reunited with his sister in the Cub Nursery.

Bentley Bear is twice the size of Dandelion.
The two cubs are together in the Cub Nursery.

This brings our total bear population to ten – three yearlings and seven cubs. We will watch and report on their progress as the days pass.

It starts out looking like a proper breakfast, even picture-perfect.

Breakfast is served in Cub House Room #1, Cubs.

Here comes the first guest – Boudreaux Bear.
Beignet Bear follows her brother into the breakfast room.
Other cubs join in the breakfast.
All five makes for a “chaos of cubs.”

Boudreaux and Beignet sample the food in Room #2.
Boudreaux shows his rather ample behind. Bears tend to carry a lot of their weight in their backside. The added fat and muscle helps them to run and climb.
The cubs have pushed the bowls out of camera range, but we can see some of the food.

As soon as breakfast is over, the cubs go outside and the games begin. What a life!

And now the rooms where breakfast was served are in need of cleaning – again. The whole breakfast took about 20 minutes. They may return for another snack before the curator does the cleanup duty.

As we have shown you before, the five little cubs at ABR have an abundance of energy. They spend a lot of their time playing, which is a good way for them to build up their strength and get better control of their muscles. The video we have today shows the cubs at play in their outdoor Acclimation Pen. There is a lot of wrestling going on, among various pairs of cubs. You’ll see that they love to take the bark off of the logs that make up their boardwalk-ramp. If you’re like us, you can only wish that you had as much energy as these cubs! Click here to see the action.

All of the cubs had spent the day eating, wrestling, climbing, and swinging, but Blackbeary hadn’t had quite enough of the latter. He entered the Cub House alone for a private swing.

Into the Cub House goes Blackbeary Bear.
Blackberry has one more swing on the ball.

Gotta swing some more!
His need to swing satisfied, he trots back out.
That was fun. Now to join the gang outside.

Out in the Wild Enclosure, the yearlings foraged.

Sweetie Bear found an apple in the Cubby Pool.
She captured it!
Daffodil Bear was foraging on the ground.

Iris Bear didn’t appear, but we know she was out there somewhere in the undergrowth. All three of the yearlings are doing well. As for the cubs – here is photographic proof that they do stop moving and take a nap once in a while.

One-two-three-four-five – they are all asleep and still (for a minute, at least).

Just like sleeping children, sleeping cubbies look innocent and angelic. But we know the truth!

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