It was heartbreaking to get the call from the UT Vet School informing us that our little neonate, Carolina Bear, had passed away. It was February 23, just a day after her first month birthday, and when it looked like a foster family had been found for her.

Carolina and her brother Pawley were rescued in South Carolina on January 30 when a wildfire and the chaos that followed caused their mother to flee. The neonate cubs were only about a week old, and weighed less than a pound each. They were immediately taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and housed in the ICU. Pawley passed a week later, but Carolina seemed to be doing well. She ate and was gaining weight, and everyone was cautiously optimistic that she would make it. Wildlife officers in TN and nearby states had searched for a suitable bear family.

The vets told us that she took a sudden turn for the worse and despite heroic efforts they were unable to save her. We know that neonates this small and this young are unbelievably fragile, but we did have hopes. A necropsy will be performed to try to determine the actual cause of death.

It is with heavy hearts that we wish this tiny bear a good life over the Rainbow Bridge. Rest in Peace, little one.