The third and last cub to be worked up for release on December 4th was #261 Rollo Bear.  Rollo arrived at ABR in early May, weighing 5.5 pounds.  He was almost four months old.  On December 4th Rollo weighed more than either of the other bears – 114 pounds!  Like Apollo and Otto, he was a little over ten months old at release.  Here is his story.

Rollo

Curator Janet and Ranger Greg begin the workup of Rollo Bear.

Rollo

Rollo Bear gets his ear tags. He was too small on arrival to be tagged then.

Rollo

When sedated, bears can’t regulate body temperature. It must be monitored carefully.

Rollo

At the release site, Rollo sees his new home.

Rollo

He makes a flying leap to freedom!

Rollo

As expected, he heads straight for the trees.

Rollo

Up the tree he goes – he is back where he belongs.

Thus ends the story of the ABR cubs of 2017.  Although it is always a bittersweet moment when the cubs are returned to the wild, this is the whole purpose of Appalachian Bear Rescue and it is gratifying to see them rush to their new, wild lives.  We hope that each of these bears will thrive now that they are back where they belong.  Good luck, cubs!  May you live long lives in the forest, away from humans!

 

Our last post was about the release of #266 Apollo Bear back into the wild.  In this post we will show the story of #259 Otto Bear.

Otto was the first 2017 cub admitted to ABR.  He arrived in April, weighing just 4.02 pounds at the age of 2.5 months.  At the age of 10 months Otto’s weight was 104 pounds!  He gained enough weight to easily sustain him through the winter.

Coy - David - Otto

Curators Coy and David lift a chubby Otto Bear onto the scale.

Otto

They were pleased with the weight gain.

Otto

Too small to receive his ear tags on arrival, Otto gets the tags now.

Otto

Otto has a thick, healthy fur coat. All three cubs have good coats.

Otto

His eyes are covered to prevent drying out.

Otto - paw

Curator Tom takes Otto’s paw print.

Otto

Otto is loaded onto the truck for his ride home.

Otto

The truck arrives at the release site. The gate is lifted.

Otto

Otto is ready! He jumps off of the truck.

Otto

Otto Bear found a tree to climb right away.

Cub #259 Otto Bear is back in the wild where he belongs!  We hope he has a long and happy life and continues to thrive.

We apologize for our lack of posts recently.  Computer issues prevented us from posting.  Now we are back in business and as the title tells you, the news is good!

With three cubs released on the same day (December 4th) but to different locations, we will do the release story in three parts – one for each little bear.  The first one to be worked up and to leave the ABR facility was #266, Apollo Bear.  Apollo had the greatest distance to travel to return to the approximate area from which he came.  Hit by a car in August  in the Big South Fork region, he was returned to that area.

 

staging area

Release staging area all set up and ready.  Here is where the cubs are worked up for release.

Apollo to scale

Apollo Bear is lifted onto scale for weighing.

When Apollo Arrived in August he weighed 22 pounds as a 7-month-olld cub.  On his release day, as a 10-month-old cub, he weighed 103 pounds!

Apollo

Apollo Bear is measured from snout to tail.

Apollo

His eyes are covered to prevent drying. A sedated bear can’t blink.

Apollo

Apollo’s mouth and teeth are healthy.

Apollo is the only one of the three cubs who will be tracked this year.  The wildlife officers and curators want to track him to be sure that there is no problem with the repaired fractures sustained as a result of the accident that brought him to ABR.

Apollo

Apollo is fitted with a GPS collar to track him after release.

Apollo

Apollo is carried to the truck that will take him back home.

Apollo

Apollo is placed in the carrier to rest. He will wake up before the ride.

Apollo - foot

Apollo’s foot. Unfortunately it was not possible to get photos of his release.

Thus ends the ABR story of Cub #266, Apollo Bear.  He is back  in the wild where he belongs and we wish him a long, healthy and happy life in the wild!  Good bye and good luck, Apollo – we will always remember you fondly.

Our next post will be the release story of #259 – Otto Bear.

Curator David was away from the facility for three weeks.  When he came back he was amazed to see how big the cubs have become.  It’s true – they literally are getting bigger every week (or every day).  And their increasing lethargy and frequent resting means that they are not burning the calories they take in.  Those calories are going to fat!  That would be very bad for a human but is good for a bear.

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Rollo and Otto Bear resting in their daybed.

Rollo

Rollo Bear is drowsy. He isn’t burning many calories these days.

Apollo

Apollo Bear in his daybed. His green ear tag confirmed his identity.

To prepare for their capture and release, the curators opened the door to the Acclimation Pen a few weeks ago.  Food has been placed in the pen, and with the door left open the cubs have been going in and out to have a snack.  This photo was taken soon after the Acclimation Pen was opened to them.  They have become comfortable with it as another source of food.

Three cubs

The three cubs outside the Acclimation Pen. Otto seems to be ready to go in for a snack.

The release date has not been announced, but it will happen very soon!  Stay tuned.

 

When Curator Coy observed the cubs he found them resting in daybeds.  They didn’t even respond to the sound of food falling into the enclosure.  It’s that time of year – even though they never were taught about hibernation, the need for winter’s sleep is hard-wired into the little bears and they are responding to the bodily signals.

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Otto and Rollo Bear shared a daybed at the bottom of an oak tree. All we see of Rollo is his ear.

Otto - Rollo

The chilly morning made the cubs extra sleepy. Otto yawns.

Apollo

Nearby, Apollo Bear rested in his own daybed by another tree.

Apollo

Apollo could hardly keep his eyes open. Bear cubs need lots of rest.

Drowsy or sleepy, whatever you call it, those words describe the cubs these days.

The curator threw peanuts over the fence and the cubs were very happy to eat them!  But, as you’ll see in the photos, some of the peanuts became “accessories” that were worn.  Very stylish, indeed!

Otto

Otto Bear forages in the late afternoon. He is “wearing” a peanut on his back.

Apollo

Apollo forages by a stump.

Rollo

Rollo Bear wears a peanut accessory.

Three cubs

Three furry bears (not so little any more!)

Otto

Otto reclines on a peanut bed to eat peanuts.

Three cubs

Late day sun on the three chubby cubs.

Still eating, and still adding weight to get them through the winter after their release.

The main activities of the three ABR bear cubs are listed above – they rest, they get up to eat and then they do it again.  If you recall how they were always resting or napping on the branches of a tree a few weeks ago, it’s interesting to see that they now don’t bother climbing up a tree.  Instead, they rest in a daybed on the ground.  Some adult male bears actually spend their winter sleep in a daybed or in several, as they may change locations during the winter.  The cubs, however, will no doubt choose dens and stay put this year.  They won’t be into the den-changing mode until they are older.  Here are some photos of them resting and then eating, as soon as the food appeared.

Otto

Otto peers out from his resting spot at the base of the tree.

Apollo

Not much of Apollo shows as he rests in the grass nearby.

Rollo

Rollo is mostly hidden by the trees.

Three cubs

The three cubs came out to vacuum up the acorns.

It took very little time for them to eat all the acorns.  Then they went back to their other activity – resting.  The curators state that they have really slowed down, but as we can see, they are still eating.