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Bear cub recovering after sibling hit and killed by car in Sevier County

by: Hannah Moore

Posted: Aug 15, 2023 / 12:06 PM EDT

Updated: Aug 15, 2023 / 12:09 PM EDT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One bear cub is dead while another one is recovering after they were both hit by a car in Sevier County.

Appalachian Bear Rescue said the surviving male cub, who has been named Turnip, is about six months old and weighs almost 40 pounds. He was hit in the head in the car crash and is showing signs of a concussion.

ABR shared that Executive Director Dana Dodd received a call Friday afternoon from a woman coming to the facility with a bear cub she’d found hit by a car in Sevier County. “Though the bear was unconscious, this was a very dangerous thing to do. Wild animals can regain consciousness, panic, and cause grave injury, regardless of their age or size. Please DO NOT touch injured bears: always call a wildlife agency or the local police for assistance,” wrote ABR on Facebook. “We understand why the lady stopped to help the cub, but we’re grateful she wasn’t harmed in the effort. This could have gone bad in a split second…very bad.”

Dodd called the TWRA and obtained permission to accept the cub and take it to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary. In addition to the concussion, Turnip has a hairline fracture on his jaw. He was given back to the rescue after being checked by Dr. Swanepoel and her team at The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

ABR added that one of Turnip’s siblings died at the accident scene and the other ran off with their mother into the woods. It is believed to be unscathed.

“We wish them all the best and promise to take care of Turnip as best we can,” wrote ABR.

Turnip is now residing in ABR’s Recovery Center and is restricted to a soft food-only diet for at least a week. His curators are in regular contact with the veterinarians at UT and will take him to see them again if necessary. If all goes to plan, Turnip will stay with ABR until his release in late fall/early winter.