One of the ABR neonate cubs – Bits Bear – is now with a wild bear family, where he has the best opportunity for a successful, wild life! As you know, our partners have been looking for possible denning females with cubs, and they found one!

Dr. Swanepoel, UT vet, brought tiny Bits Bear to the ABR facility where curators and TWRA officers met to take the neonate to what we hoped would be his new family.

Dr. Swanepoel arrived at ABR with Bits.

The den that had been located was an excavation at the base of a tree. You could easily miss it if you walked by.

She was swiftly immobilized with a pole dart, to ensure safe and quick handling.

Her eyes were covered, to prevent drying.

Dr. Swanepoel kept Bits in a carrier with a window, so she could keep checking on him.

The three cubs from the den were placed in the carrier with Bits, so that he could acquire their scent.

The mother bear was healthy, weighing an estimated 200 pounds. She was deemed fit enough to take on another cub.

Her teeth were in good shape.

The cubs were observed through the window of the carrier.

Fur and skin samples were collected for ID purposes.

Exam over, mother bear was returned to the den.

The cubs were returned to the den with Mama Bear.

Immediately, they looked for nipples.

Bits found a nipple and started to nurse.

Mother Bear’s eyes were uncovered, and the reversal drug was administered. The team moved quietly away.

Mother Bear came out of the den to look around.

Then she went back inside to feed her family that now included Bits!

What an awesome experience! We are thrilled for little Bits, and now hope for similar outcomes for the other two neonates from SC. Watch this space!