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Three bear cubs found abandoned in a box in the South Carolina mountains last winter are going to be returned to the wild this fall.

The three cubs, named Bennie, Jerry, and Carrie by their rescuers, were rehabilitated at the Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend. They weighed less than five pounds when they were brought to the center in March, but now weigh in at about 70 pounds each, and are healthy enough to be re-released. They will be returned to South Carolina, likely after the bear hunting season there.

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Dana Dodd, board president of ABR, says they have nine bears in residence right now, but wildlife officials expect them to receive an influx this fall because the white oak acorn crop was not very good this year in the mountains. The lack of food means more bears could be in trouble and may need help.

The ABR has been rehabilitating black bears and returning them to the wild since 1996. They are not-for-profit. To find out more information, go to their website or Facebook page.

Right now, the ABR is one of 250 finalists in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program, which will award vehicles to 100 nonprofit organizations based on votes from the public. ABR will be up for voting on October 2 at Facebook.com/Toyota. Dodd says they are currently using a 1998 truck with some flood damage, so it's not the most reliable of transportation! They would appreciate if the public would help them win by voting on Wednesday.

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