By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - An orphaned black bear cub was rescued along an eastern Tennessee river after it climbed aboard a guide's raft and was taken to a veterinarian for care, a bear rescue group said on Monday.
Noli Bear, a 5-month-old, 14 1/2-pound black bear, had been worrying rafting guides on Tennessee’s Nolichucky River for several days as it remained alone by the shore line, but she is now doing fine, said Dana Dodd, president of the board of Appalachian Bear Rescue, a non-profit group.
The bear on Thursday climbed into one of the rafts that had been passing it for four days, said Mark Russ, manager of High Mountain Expeditions.
“On the (rafting) trip reports, they were talking about seeing a bear cub ... again and again,” Russ said. “They kept saying they’d been seeing the bear in the same location for days and they were starting to grow concerned about mama bear being dead or gone."
After Noli climbed on the raft, guide Danny Allen took it downstream, where Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers were called, Russ said.
Noli, named for the river from which she was rescued, was turned over to Appalachian Bear Rescue, which took it to a University of Tennessee veterinarian before taking it to the ABR facility in Townsend, at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where 207 cubs have been cared for over the last 19 years.
Noli was suffering from severe dehydration and other heat-related problems, Dodd said. She is being kept in a separate enclosure until healthy enough to join the other bears. Noli will be cared for until she reaches about 50 pounds, when she will be released back into the wild.
(Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Tenn., Editing by Ben Klayman)