A mother bear refused to leave her cub’s side after the youngling was struck by a vehicle on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Persimmon, a 10-month-old bear cub, was treated for her broken ribs at the University of Tennessee Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Ryan Williamson, a National Parks Service Technician, rescued the injured cub and said the mother bear was on scene until medical help arrived. Dana Dodd, executive director of Appalachian Bear Rescue, was unsure the cub would make it through the night after sustaining a horrific accident. Rescuers explained on Facebook “She is resting in the ABR Recovery Center and, we must be honest, may not survive the night; however, she was awake upon arrival at ABR and walked out of her crate and into the RC pen on her own. Quiet rest and time are the best things we can give her at this time.”
Dana Dodd wanted to let everyone know that Persimmon has been moving around her cage and she could be released before the end of the year if her recovery stays on pace. Dodd said “Bears have an amazing ability to recover. “We’re encouraged that she’s still here,” said Dodd.
“She was observed changing positions on her bed several times throughout the night. Upon being provided a bowl of water this morning, Persimmon stood and limped to it for a drink of water,” Appalachian Bear Rescue wrote on its Facebook account.
A Bear Rescue curator baked the cub apples to mix into her medicine to make sure she’s taking it. “She responds to curator entry into the RC by sitting up, which is a positive sign. We expect her to sleep throughout the day,” the organization wrote.
Dodd notes that cubs will usually stay with their mother until they are around 16 or 17 months, until they venture life on their own. “She’s at a great weight for her age,” said Dodd
Earlier this fall, park authorities recovered the body of a hiker who became lost after splitting up with her daughter, marking the eleventh fatality in the park this year. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the United States’ most visited national park. Also this week, guests at Grand Teton National Park were caught feeding a bear who then had to be euthanized. Long story short, if you see a bear in the wild, it’s probably best to keep your distance.