TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) is caring for two new cubs that were rescued in Sevier County after the two were spotted wandering alone last weekend.
ABR said the roughly 3-month-old cubs are sisters. While the fate of their mother is unknown, they said she had done a wonderful job taking care of the cubs up until she disappeared.
TWRA said several people living in the Shell Mountain Road area reported seeing the female bear with the cubs go over a hill last week and then hearing gunshots from that direction. They hadn't seen the mother bear since and contacted wildlife officials.
On Saturday evening, the TWRA arrived to set up traps to capture the two cubs. ABR said capturing bears this young can be difficult since solid food doesn't appeal to them, and the only animal they managed to nab on Sunday in the traps was a "grumbly raccoon".
Neighbors in the area watched throughout the day, saying they spotted at least one cub, but no one saw the two together.
Eventually, a neighbor spotted one of the cubs in a tree and called TWRA, standing under the tree so it couldn't run. An officer arrived and waited until the cub descended low enough to catch her with a catchpole.
The other cub had been spotted running around nearby and was finally located in a tree an hour later in a nearly inaccessible area. ABR said the officer was able to rescue her and haul her to ABR with the help of neighbors.
The wildlife officers spotted no sign of the mother, dead or alive, but said if it was determined that someone shot the mother bear, they could face misdemeanor charges and fines.
ABR named the two cubs "Raven Bear" and "Chickadee Bear." Both of them were in good condition, but Chickadee Bear had ringworm. The organization separated the siblings so they could get medication to get rid of the parasites. The two will remain in the Recovery Center for weeks to avoid spreading ringworm to the other rescued cubs.