Holly, our oldest female black bear, was born in the wild in Arkansas in January 2013. On March 12 of that year, a fire separated her from her mother. A man found her singed and too young to walk.
He raised her until September when Arkansas wildlife officials sent her to Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) to prepare her for release into the wild. However, in December, Arkansas officials determined she should not be returned to the wild. They contacted the North American Bear Center, and Holly arrived here at her new ”forever home” on December 27, 2013.
One reason the NABC was happy to accept Holly, a southern bear, is that she probably carries northern genes. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Arkansas bear population was under 50 individuals, so Arkansas imported over 250 black bears from Manitoba and here in northeastern Minnesota. Their population has now grown to around 3,000.