The latest black bear cub to arrive at Townsend’s Appalachian Bear Rescue did so Tuesday afternoon, joining seven other cubs and three yearlings, placing residency now at 11.
The bear, named Jessamine, was brought here from South Carolina by airplane, said Dana Dodd, executive director of ABR. The bear’s other family members had been hit by a car, she said, and this one had climbed a tree, not intending to come down anytime soon.
Wildlife officials in South Carolina had to dart the small bear to complete the rescue. She weighs 19 pounds.
On board the plane that went to retrieve Jessamine were ABR curator Coy Blair, the pilot and Dr. Andrew Cushing, a veterinarian from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. The flight back to Sevier County took about 30 minutes.
Once on the ground, ABR officials took the cub to its facility. She joins two other cubs, Bentley and Dandelion, in their cub nursery. These siblings are from Polk County. Another ABR cub house is home to the “party of five” as they have come to be referred to on social media. The beary triplets — Blackbeary, Bluebeary and Hucklebeary — along with two cubs rescued from Louisiana, Beignet and Boudreaux.
Iris, Sweetie and Daffodil are the yearlings being housed in ABR’s wild enclosure. They are 17 months old. The three females have adapted well to being in the same enclosed area, ABR officials have said. Hartley, also a yearling, was returned to the wild back in May after making a remarkable recovery. He came into ABR on Feb. 14 with severe fur loss and weighed only 11 pounds. He was returned to the wild in Kentucky weighing a healthy 73.6 pounds.
ABR takes in orphaned black bears and nurtures them back to health before releasing them back into the wild. They have received bears from states across the Southeast. UT provides the medical care for them. There are four curators at ABR — Blair, Tom Faulkner, Janet Dalton and David Whitehead.
It costs about $3,000 to rehabilitate each bear, more if they require specialized care at UTCVM.