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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

APPALACHIAN BEAR RESCUE is a rehabilitation service that rescues orphaned and injured bears and gets them healthy enough to be released back into the wild......................186 successful rescue and released bears have come out of this Organization and they are having a fundraiser this Friday, Sept 21--check out details below.


In March 2011, a 3-pound black bear cub was rescued from an East Tennessee roadside ditch that was filled with water. In another incident that year, two small cubs were discovered in a Dumpster at a campground, apparently abandoned by a starving mother bear during a yearlong crop failure. Fortunately, in both situations—and in many others—injured and orphaned black bear cubs have a place to go: Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend, Tenn., the only black bear rehabilitation center in the Southeast.

If you go
What: Bear Necessities Bear-ly Edibles and Auction fundraising event
When: Friday, Sept. 21, 6 p.m. EST
Where: The Barn Event Center of the Smokies, Townsend, Tenn.
For more information: Click here
Since opening in 1996, Appalachian Bear Rescue has rehabilitated 186 orphaned and injured black bears from East Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as surrounding states. Most of the rehabilitated bears have been released back into the wilds of Tennessee, primarily the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. Five that were unable to be released were placed at wildlife facilities across the country.

Many states do not have similar bear rescue organizations in their states, officials said. (Photo: Appalachian Bear Rescue)

Appalachian Bear Rescue's 25-acre facility is licensed through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and is completely closed to the public in order to prevent the habituation of bears to humans.
When the organization receives injured and orphaned bear cubs from wildlife officials, the staff assesses their health.

If a bear is malnourished, it is immediately placed on commercial formula, bottle-fed or bowl-fed every three to four hours, and housed with other cubs for comfort and companionship. If the bear is less than 5 pounds, wildlife officials begin the search for a surrogate mother bear in the wild while the cub receives care at the center's facility.

If a cub can be reintroduced to the wild immediately with a surrogate mother and siblings, the process moves quickly. If not, the cub is raised at Appalachian Bear Rescue's facility for later release to the wild.

Older cubs live in enclosures behind blind-covered fencing so that they do not come into contact with humans. The enclosures create an environment that is nearly identical to the wild, and all of the food that the bears would normally gather is available.
As soon as a bear is ready, it is reintroduced back into the wild. Each bear is tagged and numbered for tracking purposes before release."Not one bear released from our facility has ever been reported as a 'garbage' bear or 'nuisance' bear, and we attribute that to their strict procedures," said Dana Dodd, president of the Appalachian Bear Rescue board of directors.

Tennessee is fortunate to have bear cub rehabilitation services and the support of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Dodd said. "Most states do not have rehabilitation options for bear cubs, and injured and orphaned cubs are often euthanized," Dodd said. One example of many is a bear cub found recently along a Virginia highway that was euthanized by the state's Game and Inland Fisheries Department because no options for rehabilitating the cub back to the wild were available in the area, officials said.

Bears abound in TennesseeHistorically, black bears were found throughout the entire state of Tennessee. However, habitat changes and a lack of hunting regulations helped extirpate bears from much of their historic range. Take Davy Crockett, the "king of the wild frontier," who described killing 105 bears in one year in "A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee," published in 1834.

The establishment of the Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the 1930s significantly impacted black bear populations in Tennessee by halting large-scale logging operations and subsequent habitat destruction from farming and human development. Today, these forests provide quality habitat for bears in Tennessee and support vital strands of oak species, the most vital food source for bears of the southern Appalachians.

In Tennessee, bears can now be found in East Tennessee and areas of the plateau, and transient bears have been documented as far west as Memphis, according to the TWRA.

Tennessee allows bear hunting in Tennessee each fall. However, the TWRA has strict regulations that prevent cubs (any bear weighing 75 pounds or less) and female bears with cubs at side from being taken at any time.

Bear necessitiesBlack bears are omnivores, surviving on foliage, roots, nuts, seeds, berries, insects and carrion. A bad year for acorns and berries can mean disaster for black bears, as witnessed in 2011. That year's drought was tough on black bears, particularly mothers with cubs, and a record 33 bear cubs were admitted to Appalachian Bear Rescue that spring, according to Dodd.

"The fall of 2010 had a huge acorn crop, so female bears went into their dens that fall with lots of food and emerged with several cubs in the spring of 2011," Dodd said. "However, nature took an ugly turn. That spring, the berry crop did not do well, so the bears went through the summer without many berries. Then, there was almost a complete nut crop failure in the fall, so all the cubs that had been born in the spring had nothing to eat.

"In the fall, black bear cubs need about 22,000 calories a day in order to prepare for winter and hibernation," Dodd said. "Last year, because we had so many bear cubs, and they needed so much food, our food bills were up to $8,000 a month."

As a nonprofit, Appalachian Bear Rescue raises funds to support their efforts to provide rehabilitation services to injured and orphaned black bears. The facility accepts donations of money and gift cards for food and hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year. On Sept. 21, they will host a fundraising .

Jenni Frankenberg Veal is a freelance writer and naturalist living on Walden's Ridge. She enjoys writing about the natural world and exploration opportunities found within the southeastern United States, one of the most biologically and recreationally rich regions on Earth. Visit her blog at

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