Appalachian Bear Rescue continues giving black bears a second chance at life

Living East Tennessee

The Appalachian Bear Rescue has been caring for injured and orphaned bears, since 1996. 

“When these bears come in, most of the time, they’re in the worst condition they could be in. A lot of times, they’re knocking on death’s door, so to speak,” Coy Blair, lead curator at the Appalachian Bear Rescue said. “As the lead curator, my job is to physically take care of the orphaned and injured black bears we receive here at the facility.” 

When injured and orphaned black bears come in from the wild, their first stop is at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine for an initial medical exam. 

“They’ll examine the bear, check for broken bones and internal injuries, that I as a curator would not notice. From there, we would come up with an individualized treatment plan, for the bears,” Blair said. 

The bears could be in Blair and his team’s care from anywhere from two months to six months, but no matter how long the stay, Blair said most of the time the bears are released back into the wild. 

“95 percent of the time, we’re able to get them bounced back on their feet,” Blair said. “To see them get turned around and offer them that second chance of life, and seeing that finished product is so rewarding,” Blair said. 

“Hopefully they go out and survive, stay our of trouble, and do what they’re supposed to.” 

The Appalachian Bear Rescue provides care for orphaned and injured cubs and yearlings under the age of two. The 65-acre rescue facility is not open to the general public, however the Appalachian Bear Rescue has a public Visitor’s Center  in Townsend, Tennessee and a blog to keep up with the the bear rescues throughout the year. 

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