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Blog Animals

Say hello to “Little Bear”

Say hello to the newest member of the Museum of Life and Science: a 61-pound black bear cub from Western North Carolina.

In late September officials from the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission contacted the Museum and reported they had rescued an abandoned female black bear cub outside Asheville. The cub showed behavior that would not allow her to survive in the wild, so she was deemed unsuitable for release. Officials hoped to find her a home that would give her a shot at long-term survival and that is why a 40-pound cub was transported onto our campus on a late September afternoon. She began her 30-day quarantine separated from our three big bears, Mimi (17), Gus (15), and Yona (12). It has been quite some time since we have had a cub on our campus, the last being Yona who came to the Museum in 2009.

The staff quickly began calling her “Little Bear” not only because of her age but her small stature, which is quite staggering when comparing her to our fully-grown bears. Gus currently weighs around 415 pounds.

On October 11, four veterinarians (one attending, one exotics resident, one anesthesia resident, and one radiology resident) from NC State College of Veterinary Medicine performed a full physical on Little Bear.

She was given a full-body assessment and a blood draw for further blood work. They also did an ultrasound to be sure her internal organs were in proper working order. Her ear tags were removed and she received vaccinations.

Once she completed the quarantine process she was slowly introduced to Gus, Mimi, and Yona. Black bears are solitary by nature so introductions were done under the watchful eyes of the Animal Care team.

The introductions went as expected and with her eating and gaining weight, now 61 pounds, Little Bear was given full access to the bear habitat on November 8.

Animal Care Director, Sherry Samuels had this to say about our newest face on campus: “This little bear has health challenges we are working to solve and manage throughout the introduction period and beyond. We’re seeing progress and hope this continues as she adjusts to her new home. We’re excited to be at  this next step. She is interacting as she should with the other bears, and visitors can hope to see her in the bear habitat soon.”

While you may be able to catch a glimpse of Little Bear over the next few months please keep in mind that as the temperature drops the bears will be more likely to retreat to their favorite rest spots throughout much of the day.

We plan to hold a naming contest on the Museum’s social media in the coming weeks, be sure to follow us there for lots of bear updates!