The Appalachian Bear Rescue is caring for three orphaned cubs likely left without a mother after someone shot and killed the adult bear this month in Sevier County.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told 10News the adult bear was shot in the Cobbly Nob area by "an 83-year-old man and the incident is under investigation.
"When it is complete, we will present the case to the District Attorney's Office who will decide if charges are warranted," TWRA spokesman Matt Cameron said.
ABR said Monday on its Facebook page that it has dubbed the male cubs Indigo and Juniper and the female Lavender. The males weigh about 33 pounds and the female 27 pounds.\
While it's not known for sure that they are siblings, ABR said, curators are nearly certain they're related.
Indigo arrived first -- on Saturday. The other two were caught Monday.
Because they weren't all rounded up at once and from the same place ABR can't say definitively that they're related.
"We’re sending DNA samples to confirm kinship, but the results won’t be available for a few months," ABR said.
The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville has examined them.