TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE) – Monday was a big day in bear world, 13 bears currently being cared for at Appalachian Bear Rescue celebrated their ‘cubby birthday.’
ABR curators say their three yearlings are celebrating 18-month birthdays and the 10 cubs are celebrating 6-month birthdays. In a Facebook post the organization shared the bears will be celebrating in style. Their “birthday cake” featured fruit, peanuts and bear diet pellets.
Coy Blair, lead curator at ABR, says black bears are generally born between January and February, which is why they chose the 22nd of every month to celebrate their bears’ birthdays.
“They’re all doing really well. The 10 cubs and three yearlings, they have their noses to the ground, they’re foraging most of the day.
When they’re not foraging, at least for the younger cubs, they’re playing. They’re climbing up on the platforms, tops of the trees, playing on the tire bridge we put in there, lots of things we put in there for bear enrichment,” added Blair.
ABR explained that a “cubby birthday” is a milestone.
“It’s just one day closer to a release day and so our goal is obviously that on their “cubby birthday” will be in the wild sooner, rather than later,” said Blair.
He says the milestones these bears are celebrating have to do with their successes in health and rehabilitation.
“If we receive a neonatal bear, like a cub some of the ones we received this year that were just five to six weeks old, we’re really going to have to work toward getting them to grow up and get the nourishment that they need and it’s a huge investment.”
Blair says the work these last few months focused on minimizing human contact so the cubs and yearlings retain their wild nature.
“I get asked that all the time, ‘Are you sad when they leave?’ And to me it’s the best day ever. That means that all the hard work and dedication that you put into caring for those animals has paid off. When they go back to the wild, which is where they started and where I want them to go, it’s an awesome feeling.”
Monday wrapped up ABR’s “Spare a dollar, feed a cub” campaign. Their goal was to raise $15,000. At last check nearly $16,000 was donated.