As we posted yesterday, Appalachian Bear Rescue admitted our third bear of 2017 on May 16th.  Bear #261, nicknamed Rollo Bear joined our yearling #258 Summitt  and cub #259 Otto at the facility.  Actually, Rollo didn’t join the others – for the time being, each of them is in their own space.  We hope that after he settles in Rollo will be able to join Otto in The Cub House.  Since they are the same age (not quite four months old) it would be good for them to be together.  Summitt Bear, as a yearling, will not be housed with the cubs at all.  He will probably be ready for release into the wild quite soon.

Today we have a delightful video of all three of the ABR bears.  We’re sure you’ll enjoy seeing them, and in Rollo’s case, hearing them.  Click here to watch the video of our three bears.

Some kind folks in Jefferson County spotted a tiny black bear cub near a busy road.  They were concerned that the cub appeared to be weak and alone and they called ABR.  Of course ABR doesn’t rescue orphaned cubs and we suggested that they call TWRA.  A TWRA officer responded to the call and rescued the little cub.

Curators Janet and David met the officer and transported the cub to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was examined and proved to be a very vocal and ornery patient.  After the examination #261, now nicknamed Rollo Bear, was taken to ABR and the Cub Nursery.

Rollo Bear is the same age as Otto Bear, three months old, almost four months.  Here are the first photos of him.


Rollo Bear on his way to the University of TN Vet school.


Rollo Bear seems to be curious.


Rollo is in the back of the ABR truck.

At the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sullivan and his team performed Rollo’s examination.  They gave him his intake exam and weighed him.  Rollo Bear weighs 5.5 pounds, which is about half of Otto’s weight.  This is not surprising, since a cub at ABR is given a diet that is much enriched in comparison to the diet of a wild cub.  Rollo’s weight is normal for a cub this age in the wild.


Rollo being checked at his intake exam.

Since he was so feisty, Dr. Sullivan decided against taking a blood sample and sent him along with the curators to travel to ABR and The Cub Nursery.  He will receive worm medicine (standard for all cubs that are admitted to ABR) mixed with his applesauce and formula.


Rollo expressed his dislike of cages and humans.  He was vocal!

Rollo sleeps

Eventually the tired little cub fell asleep.

The arrival of Rollo Bear increases our bear population to 3 – we now have two cubs and one yearling.  We wish that all bear cubs could stay with their mothers, but since that doesn’t always happen we are glad to be able to care for orphans like Rollo and help them grow and develop.

In our last post we described how the curators prepared the Acclimation Pen for Otto and moved him into that outdoor space.  He wasn’t happy there.  In fact, he stopped eating, skipping two meals.  This was totally unlike him.


Otto climbed up to the platform. This was good behavior – until he stopped eating.

He went into the log den.


Otto in the log den.

When he skipped two meals, the curators decided he should go back to The Cub House.


Otto started eating right away.

He seemed happy to be back in his familiar rooms with his “furnishings” and toys.


He ate, drank and played as he did before.

Little bear cubs have minds of their own.  The curators let the bears show them what they want, and they try to provide what is asked for.  Otto asked to go back in his familiar Cub House.  Problem solved!

In our last post we updated you on our fifteen-month-old yearling, Summitt Bear.  There were only a couple of photos of Summitt because, like all yearlings, he prefers to stay hidden.

Today we have some new photos of the three-month-old cub Otto Bear.  Despite the “minimal human contact” that our curators practice, they are able to photograph little Otto through the window in The Cub House door, so we have more photos for your viewing pleasure.

No doubt you recall the Blue-beary-applesauce “sandwiches” that he seems to enjoy very much.


Otto reaches for his “sandwiches” that were placed on top of his stump.

Otto has no problem getting to things he wants, even after they have been moved and rearranged by one of the curators.  They use honeysuckle vine to tie things together.  Otto tried to untie the knots.  Did you know that bears are very adept at using their paws to perform small motor tasks that we might think were impossible for them?


The knots in the honeysuckle vine intrigued him.

He was doing so well that the curators decided it was time to move him into an Acclimation Pen.  First it had to be prepared and decorated.

Acclimation Pen

The Acclimation Pen allows a cub to experience outdoor sights, sounds and smells

Preparations were made.


Greenery was added to the pen.


Decorations finished.

The final touch – Curator David added Charley Bear to be a comforting friend.

Charley Bear

Charley Bear is placed in the pen.

Curator David was able to move Otto quickly, and to weigh him as he did so.  Note the heavy gloves – Otto’s claws are sharp!

9.8 pounds

Otto Bear weighed 9.8 pounds!


Otto Bear in the Acclimation Pen. More space to climb and explore.

Otto has more than doubled his weight since being at ABR.  He weighed just 4.2 pounds when he was admitted.  It is very likely that he is heavier than wild cubs his age, due to the enriched diet he receives.

The elusive Summitt Bear, our fifteen-month-old yearling, made a brief appearance that was captured on film by our curator.  Summitt, like any good wild yearling, stays out of sight most of the time.


There he is! Summitt Bear at the base of a tree.

A moment later –


Summitt disappeared into the underbrush.

It may be frustrating when they are trying to capture him in a photo, but the curators know that this is the way our yearling should act, and they are happy with his progress.

The next post will be an update on Otto Bear.

Three-month-old Otto Bear, who is currently residing at Appalachian Bear Rescue, is a busy little bear cub who keeps the curators on their toes, trying to challenge him and help him grow.  Today we have a special treat – a 10-minute video that was filmed through the window in The Cub House door.  The video shows how Curator Janet challenged Otto by moving his toys and “furnishings” to new places.  Watch his reaction and how he solves the problem of retrieving his possessions.  Click here to see Otto in action.  We guarantee you will chuckle and enjoy watching the little guy solve his puzzle.

A three-month-old bear cub is rather like a three-year-old toddler – always on the go and getting into mischief.  For example, Otto Bear attacked the log den in The Cub House. These two photos show the den “before” and “after” Otto.

log den

The log den in Room 1 of The Cub House.

Attacking a log is perfectly normal behavior for a bear, since bears shred logs to get at insects and grubs they often find within.  We aren’t sure whether there were insects in this log den, but if there were, no doubt they made a tasty treat for little Otto.

log den

Here is the log den after being attacked by Otto.

It keeps the curators busy trying to come up with new challenges for our little bear cub.

Curator David

Curator David prepares a Blue-beary sandwich for Otto.

When he put the sandwich in The Cub House, he also added something to the climbing tree in Room 2.

Climber decorated

Curator David decorated the climbing tree with pine and more honeysuckle vines.

Decorations gone

Decorations didn’t last. Otto took his sandwich back into Room 1.

Apparently Otto prefers to have his food in Room 1.  That’s OK with Curator David.  Cubs can choose where to eat.

Otto naps

After eating his sandwich, Otto took a nap.

Meanwhile, Summitt Bear is much less active.  He was up in a tree and then came down to sit between his favorite trees.


Summitt Bear is hard to see, but there he is, between the trees.

It is interesting to watch the cub and yearling and to see how different they are.