This tiny black bear cub, found near Honey Creek in Fentress County, Tennessee, has a long road to recovery.
The call came late yesterday afternoon. A local Tennessee woman had been startled when her dog detected “an intruder” in their shed. Thankfully, it wasn’t foul play. But they did find a defenseless, malnourished little cub all by himself. And that’s where Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) enters.
After securing the bear (there was no contact between dog and bear, ABR notes), the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) was notified. “TWRA Black Bear Support Biologist, Janelle Musser, went to pick up the bear and asked Curators Reagan and Executive Director Dana Dodd to meet her at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine,” ABR notes in their Facebook update on the rescue. Their goal? Get this little black bear cub healthy.
Meet Honey Bunny Bear
“Please welcome, Honey Bunny Bear,” ABR reveals of their name choice for this tiny one. She is a female yearling of around 14 months old, the rescue notes. And currently, she only weighs 9.92 pounds ( 4.5 kg).
This weight is, in a word, pitiful. At this age, female (sow) black bears typically weigh 60-pounds already. This poor little one has likely been on her own for weeks and didn’t have much longer had she not been discovered, rescued, and placed in the care of ABR.
Confirming this, “Dr. Sheldon and her team took blood samples and x-rays and determined that severe and prolonged malnutrition was her biggest problem.” Well, that and ticks. The already malnourished black bear cub had dozens of ticks sucking the blood from her body.
So while the vets did their work, TWRA bear biologist Janelle picked the ticks off the cub one by one. “The vets gave the little bear an injection of iron supplement, (she was a bit anemic), fluids to hydrate her, and then discharged her to ABR’s care with the usual prescription for deworming medicine,” the rescue continues.
Appalachian Bear Rescue Has Saved Hundreds of Black Bear Cubs
It had been a long day for this cub. Her first meal after rescue came around midnight, consisting of “a small snack of appplebeary sauce, mealworms, grapes, and chopped apple.”
Now, HoneyBunny Bear will stay on a controlled menu for the next few days while her body adjusts to increased nutrition, ABR explains. “We’ll do our best for this little bear,” they offer.
Appalachian Bear Rescue remains a critical part of black bear conservation in the Great Smoky Mountains. This little cub is one of hundreds the center has saved since 1996.
“Our thanks goes to the lady who found HoneyBunny in her shed and made the initial call, and to the TWRA for responding so quickly. Our gratitude to the team at The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine on whom we depend for the medical expertise that has saved so many of our residents. And thanks to all of you for your continued and generous support.“
Most importantly, their bears stay wild and are not habituated to their staff or other humans. To help ABR continue their excellent work, you can read more and donate here.