Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — A bear cub from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recovering after a vehicle hit her near the Elkmont area Friday.
Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend said it is now caring for 14 cubs after taking in eight-month-old Myrtle Bear. ABR said a ranger -- one of its former curators, Greg Greico -- called the organization to report a bear cub that had been hit by a vehicle along Little River Gorge Road at Elkmont Road.
Someone reported the incident to the Elkmont campground manager, who notified park rangers and wildlife officers.
ABR said two rangers found the cub lying on the side of the road, still breathing. When they clapped their hands, they said the cub got up, staggered to the side of the road and climbed about 5 feet up a tree before settling into a crook.
Greico arrive and used an infrared scope to spot what he assumed were the cub's mother and two siblings in the distance on a hill on the opposite side of the road.
ABR said the injured cub was no longer alert and had not vocalized for her mother. At that point, Greico made the decision to tranquilize the cub and bring it back to ABR for rehabilitation.
The cub was first taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, where vets determined she didn't have any fractures. Vets said she had some bleeding from her nose and there was a little blood in the back of her throat, so they used a saline solution to draw fluid out of her brain to prevent swelling. The bear was released back to ABR and given a prescription for pain medication.
As of Monday, ABR said Myrtle Bear was feeling better after "coming a long way," saying they added puppy chow to her menu and are keeping a close eye on her recovery.
"The curators are impressed with Myrtle’s progress, but they aren’t fooled by it. They’ve seen injured bears seem to rally only to crash the next day. They and the vets want to keep Myrtle confined for a few more days before they’re confident in her ability to handle life in a wild enclosure with four little hooligan cubs she’s never met," ABR said.
ABR is currently raising money to care for several new cub arrivals, saying people can donate at this link.