Apollo was taken back to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine on September 7th, just 15 days after he arrived at ABR.  He had a good checkup, as these photos show.


Apollo in the Red Roof Recovery Center pen, with lowered ceiling.\


Apollo at UTCVM


The incision is healing well.


Prepared for X-ray. This shows Apollo’s size.


The X-ray shows that the fracture is healing very well.


Apollo has gained weight. He was 22 pounds when he arrived; now he is 31.9 pounds!


Back at ABR, Apollo was introduced to an Acclimation Pen that has no lowered ceiling.


Apollo can climb if he wants to!

This is very good news for little Apollo Bear.   We are sure that his good progress will continue.  Bears are amazingly resilient animals, and with the help of ABR Apollo will be ready for his second chance at a wild life.

Bears have many means of communicating information to other bears.  These include a wide variety of sounds, equally important body language cues and the all-important sense of smell.  In today’s post we see the cubs, Otto and Rollo, using the sense of smell to communicate what is being eaten by one of the cubs.  Otto is eating something, and Rollo wants to know what it is.  See how the message is transmitted.

Rollo and Otto forage together.

Rollo wonders what Otto is eating.

Rollo tries to sniff Otto’s mouth to learn what he has.

He continues to sniff Otto’s mouth. Must be something good!

The two cubs return to foraging.

This is actually a method that mother bears use to teach their cubs what foods they should be eating.  A mother bear takes food in her mouth and then lets her cub sniff so the youngster can remember the smell and locate that food on its own later.  Sometimes a mother bear will breathe into the cub’s face to convey the same message.  Bears use their sense of smell more than any of their other senses.

All three of the ABR cubs are eating and getting chubby.  Here is Apollo with his large bowl of food.

Apollo dives into his large food bowl.

As you can see, all three of the bear cubs are making great progress.



Otto and Rollo Bear are frightened by unusual noises.  On this day the noises were wind blowing through the trees and then helicopters flying overhead.  Bears (and many other animals) don’t like wind because it makes it difficult for them to use their excellent sense of hearing to identify sounds in their environment.  This is especially scary for little bears like our two cubs.  As for helicopters – they are a totally foreign sound and to a cub may sound like real danger.

Otto - Rollo

Otto and Rollo hang onto their tree as they look for the source of the sound.


Otto - Rollo

The two cubs seemed to be worried.


Brave Rollo leaves the tree for a moment to find something to eat.


Otto sits down very close to the tree for safety.


Otto uses his paw for a plate, but stays right by the tree.


Closeup view of the paw-for-a-plate trick.

Then the helicopters – several of them – flew over.


What is making that awful noise? The cubs quickly climbed their tree for safety.

Checking on Apollo Bear, we see him eating.  Good bear – he needs to put on weight!


Apollo has a good appetite!


Apollo Bear digs into his food. He is taking this eating business seriously.


After a hearty meal, a nap is next. Apollo settles down.

If you remember how Apollo looked at first, after his arm had been shaved for his surgery, you can appreciate how much better he looks now.  After just 2 1/2 weeks, the fur has grown back amazingly well.



Otto and Rollo are refining their sleeping skills.  That is, they are showing the ability to snooze at any time of day (or night, we suspect)in their favorite tree.  These photos of their napping behavior show how skillful they are.  This time they aren’t on the “bunk beds” but are snuggled very close together, resulting in a tangle of cubs.


Otto Bear appears to be resting with his head on his arm.


Rollo is zonked out. He’s draped over the branch next to Otto.


Otto looks at Rollo. He may be thinking that a snooze is a good thing.


Otto’s eyes close as he slowly-falls-asleep.

Otto - Rollo

Two sleeping cubs.

The only alert cub was Apollo.


Apollo is waiting for his dinner. He is wide awake.


We wish sweet dreams to the drowsy cubs and a nice full tummy to the alert cub.  That’s it for today.

Ever since Apollo Bear arrived at ABR on August 19th, after being hit by a car, he has been inside the Red Roof Recovery Center.  The pen is designed to prevent injured cubs from climbing and possibly hurting themselves again.  When Curator David went to clean out his pen, Apollo was standing on his hind legs.  This was a first for the cub since he came to ABR and Curator David took it as a sign that Apollo was ready for a new experience.  He opened the sliding door into the outdoor Acclimation Pen, which has a lowered ceiling like the indoor pen.  Apollo went out and for the first time since his arrival he was out where he could see and smell the outdoors.  David took advantage of the opportunity to thoroughly clean and sanitize the pen for the cub’s return.


Otto was outside! He paced a bit and sniffed the air.


He can’t climb but he can walk around, which he did.

When he returned to the clean indoor pen, Apollo took advantage of the fresh food that David had placed there.  This little cub is making good progress.  He will have further chances to visit the Acclimation Pen in days to come.

In the Wild Enclosure, Otto and Rollo moved out of the oak tree that had been their favorite place.  They chose to climb a sweet gum tree that is at least 50 feet tall.  And, being cubs, they climbed very high in that tree.

Rollo - Otto

Rollo and Otto hanging out in their new, taller tree.


These two cubs are daredevils. It is nerve-wracking for the humans watching them.

The cubs are practicing the skills they will need when they are back in the wild.  If only they had a little compassion for their worried caretakers!


Rollo - Otto

As usual, Rollo and Otto Bear were foraging.


This “nubbin” view of Rollo shows how much he is growing. Bears carry weight in their hind end.


Otto walks around the edge of the pool. Bears drink lots of water during hyperphagia.

Otto and Rollo

That’s enough. Up the tree they go to take a nap.


They settle into their “bunk beds,” one above and the other below.


Hush now – Rollo is sleeping.


How relaxed and comfortable can a cub be?

Apollo was eating his food and moving around in his pen.


Apollo is eating well.

Curator David saw him interacting with Charley Bear.  This was the first time he was observed actually interacting.  David snapped a photo, but it’s a bit blurry.


This blurry image shows Apollo interacting with the stuffed Charley Bear.

The fact that Apollo interacted with his stuffed companion was good in the he is becoming more alert and interested in his surroundings.  This is progress.


It happens every year about this time.  ABR cubs begin to attack the saplings in their enclosure.  Perhaps they enjoy the fact that saplings spring back when bent to the ground – until they break, that is.  Otto and Rollo have entered the “sapling destruction” season.


The evidence of sapling destruction and the chief suspect.


Of course, it’s quite possible that this guy is responsible for the destruction.


Otto and Rollo work their way into the underbrush. This sapling is not safe!

Apollo Bear, who is convalescing in the Red Roof Recovery Center, is not able to attack saplings yet, but he is doing well in his restricted space.  He has begun to pay attention to the stuffed companions that are in his pen.


Apollo and Charley Bear, the stuffed friend.


Apollo is about to go to sleep. Have a good nap, Apollo – it will help you heal.