Abandoned Bear Cub Seen Struggling On River Bank Is Rescued By Raft Guide

A female baby bear cub was found malnourished and in distress along the banks of the Nolichucky River near Erwin, Tennessee. Rafting guides had noticed the bear’s struggles for days and worked to gain the 14-pound cub’s trust. Finally, on Thursday, the black bear cub was coaxed into one of the raft guide’s boats and taken for medical treatment. The bear cub was named Noli after the Nolichucky River where she was found.

Knox News reports that raft guides along the river saw the struggling bear cub along the river banks for days before finally coaxing the animal to safety. Matt Moses, who owns the USA Raft Company, said the bear was finally rescued by guide Danny Allen of High Mountain Expeditions. The USA Raft Company guides had been monitoring the bear for days and slowly gained her trust by getting her used to human contact. The guides note that the bear cub would walk towards them and swim out towards the raft but wouldn’t get close enough for a rescue. However, on Thursday, a raft guide from another company, Danny Allen, pulled up to the bank and the bear cub jumped into the boat.

“We had seen this bear over the last four days, and there was no sight of a mama bear. She was obviously malnourished and appeared to be in distress. My guides kept coming back to me and saying they had no idea what to do. We didn’t want to see this bear die on the side of the river. It would walk toward us at first. Then it swam out toward one of our rafts. Thursday, a guy from another rafting company (Allen) pulled over and she got right in.”

Moses noted that raft guides will sometimes see bear cubs along the river, but he says this is the first time he has ever heard of a bear actually getting into a raft. Upon rescue, the bear was taken to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The agency then turned the bear cub over to the Appalachian Bear Rescue, a black bear rehabilitation facility that helps return orphaned bears back to the wild. The Appalachian Bear Rescue says that Noli the bear is doing well and feeding after suffering from severe dehydration.

“She’s up, walking and feeding. She likes grapes and applesauce. Those things are great for her because they’re filled with water.”

The curators of the rescue group say that they expect Noli to be able to join the other bear cubs at the organization very soon.

[Image Credit: USA Raft/ Appalachian Bear Rescue]