Starving And Malnourished, Orphan Bear Cub Rescued From Great Smoky Mountains

Lovey is currently recovering from surgery to repair a shattered femur.

A Tennessee non-profit is caring for a young bear found in “pretty bad shape” in the Great Smoky Mountains last week. 

Lovey Bear

Appalachian Bear Rescue

Park Rangers found the starving and malnourished yearling near Laurel Falls on February 10. After being examined at University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the sick Black bear was taken to Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) in Townsend where he’s recovering from surgery to repair a broken femur. 

According to ABR, the cub, whom they named Lovey in honor of Valentine’s Day, weighed only 13 pounds when he was found. At his age, approximately 13 months, he should weigh at least 52 pounds. Prolonged malnutrition also left him with a calcium deficiency, brittle bones, and decaying teeth.

“He’s been instructed to gain as much weight and drink as much water as possible,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “He’s in pretty bad shape, but we’ll do our best for him.”  

On February 13, Lovey returned to University of Tennessee for a long and complicated surgery to repair his shattered femur. 

Lovey is currently recuperating at ABR, where he is expected to stay for at least six weeks. 

The organization said it does not know much about his time in the wild, or for how long he was alone, but Black bear cubs typically stay with their mom until they are about 18 months old. Black bears in the Smokies also den in the winter.

"Black bear cubs stay with their mother bears for about 17-18 months. He would normally have been with his mother bear until about May/June of this year," a representative for ABR told Southern Living. "We don't know how they became separated, but we suspect he had been orphaned for quite some time. That would help to explain his small size."

“We’ll do our best for Lovey,” rescuers wrote on Facebook. “It’s hard for a wild black bear to endure this kind of confinement, but we’ve had good luck with bears in a similar situation. We hope our luck holds up.”

We’re rooting for you, Lovey!

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