ABR Bear Update

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ABR assists injured and orphaned Tennessee bears and black bears from other states. This year, ABR has been pleased to assist officers from Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina who have been faced with orphaned cubs and underweight yearling’s. In April, ABR returned a Louisiana black bear yearling to its home state in healthy condition and ready to encounter new adventures in his wild habitat. The yearling, Little Bear, had been admitted to ABR on November 21, 2006, a orphaned, underweight yearling. Little Bear was captured by officers from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Upon capture, he weighed only 15 pounds (normal weight should have been between 30-50 pounds). When Little Bear was found, he had poor teeth, was near starvation and had subsisted on harvested sugar cane stubble. Little Bear went home on April 24th weighing a healthy 93 pounds and possessing a feisty bear attitude!! The Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus Americanus Luteolus) is officially classified as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act. Today, there are only between 500 and 600 Louisiana black bears in the wild population. ABR was pleased to assist Louisiana officials in their efforts to return this species to sustainable levels. Soon after Little Bear’s successful return home and release, ABR was contacted by Arkansas and South Carolina officials. Officers from Arkansas Game and Fish and South Carolina DNR captured two orphaned male cubs and requested admittance for the cubs to ABR. The AR cub (Rocky) weighed 11 pounds and the SC cub (Beauregard) weighed 12 pounds upon admittance. The cubs were admitted on the same day in May. When they met, they grabbed each other in a tight bear hug and fell to the ground, rolling and playing as if they were siblings. Both cubs were healthy and were probably orphaned soon after exiting the den with their mothers. Though they had been with their mothers only a short time, their mothers’ early lessons and their instincts had guided them well and they knew they were bears…they just needed a little help to get started on a positive eating/growing schedule. They were offered a commercial formula similar to mother’s milk to give them plenty of nutrients and they quickly learned to eat solid foods like apples, grapes, pears and in-shell peanuts. By mid-summer, they had gained 20+ pounds and were well on their way to a healthy existence. At that time, another Arkansas cub was admitted who had not had such a positive start on life.