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One day an officer for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park transported bears ‘Chester’ and ‘Camper’ to ABR. Both yearlings were far underweight, weighing 30 pounds and 27 pounds respectively. But Camper had no injuries and only needed some good nutrition and ample recovery time.

Chester, however, was not only small for his age he had also suffered a broken rear femur and had puncture wounds on his front paws. He definitely needed specialized attention. A Park wildlife biologist said the male bear had probably been recently weaned from its mother at nearly 30 pounds underweight and was hardly able to move around at the time. They were not sure how Chester was injured but they believed the mother may well have pushed him too hard while weaning him from her.

University of Tennessee veterinarians performed surgery on Chester to repair his leg before he was transported to ABR. He arrived looking like a mere shadow of himself with 1/3 of his body shaved from surgery. He was put in confinement to recover and remained there for six weeks. But he progressed well and was introduced to another bear in late August.