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Appalachian Bear Rescue is offering a Bear for Adoption
By Michael Williams
Published March 17, 2023; 4:43 p.m.

On a recent Saturday afternoon Dana Dodd, Executive Director of Appalachian Bear Rescue, was summoned to Cocke County to pick up a small bear that was near death. There she was met by officers with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency who briefed her about the tiny bear and how it was severely malnourished.

“The bear was a yearling and weighed eight pounds,’ said Dodd. “At his age he should have weighed between 40-50 pounds. He had injuries that were a result of an animal attack. He wouldn’t have lasted much longer out there by himself. I don't think he had much left in his tank.”

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Rover appears bewildered as he was was caged to be transported to the veterinary clinic.

Dodd loaded the tiny bear into a land rover that had recently been donated to the Appalachian Bear Rescue. Because this little bear was the first to be transported in the new vehicle he was named HRH Rover which is short for His Royal Highness Rover.

He was taken to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medicine where his wounds were cleaned, he was given anti-inflammatories, pain medicines and antibiotics as well as much-needed nourishment.

bear rescue
HRH Rover was discovered in Cocke County. He was near death where rescuers found him. The tiny bear weighed eight pounds and suffered from severe malnutrition. According to Dana Dodd of the Appalachian Bear Rescue, a bear his age should weigh approximately 40-50 pounds. Here Rover is surrounded by veterinary personnel who render aid to treat his injuries and assess his condition.

HRH Rover is the 368th bear to be rehabilitated by the ABR since it was founded in 1996. The first bear to arrive at the facility arrived in July of that year. The bears entrusted to the facility belong to the National Park Service. Once the bears are rehabilitated they are released back into the wild. Occasionally bears are seriously injured or beyond rehabilitation the NPR euthanizes the animal.

Currently five small bears, classified as yearlings, are at the facility where they are receiving nourishment and medical treatments needed to reintroduce them to the wild. Two of the bears are siblings whose mother was killed when she was hit by a car.

Dodd has served the Appalachian Bear Outreach since 2012 when she served as a board member. She stepped into the director’s position in 2017. Her duties include fundraising for the not-for-profit facility as well as managing the daily activities of the facility to ensure the safety of the bears entrusted to her care.

The facility is not open to the public but a visitor center was opened in January of 2015. Unfortunately, it was closed during the covid outbreak. The ABR provides life-saving humane services to give the bears a. second chance at life. Dodd would like to reopen the visitor center but volunteers are needed.

“We need people with retail experience,” Saud Dodd. “We also need volunteers who are willing to pick fruits and vegetables for the bear.”

HRH Rover is currently up for adoption. For a small fee the adopter will receive a stuffed bear, a photo of the bear and a certificate adoption. But the actual bear will remain at the facility until it is released into the wild.

The ABR receives its funding from private donations. Anyone seeking to volunteer to pick food or work at the Visitor Center or to adopt a bear or make a much-needed donation visit the website or mail a check to P.O. box 364, Townsend, TN. 37882.


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