CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A bear cub found hiding up a tree in Elizabethton is settling in at the Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) after a weekend run-in with humans, and organization members say they’re hoping to release him back into the wild later this year.

According to Facebook posts from the nonprofit, ABR was alerted to the cub’s situations late Sunday evening. After a discussion with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA), ABR members took custody of the bear.

“The little bear is a male cub-of-the-year, about ten weeks old,” One post said. “And weighs 4.6 pounds (2.09 kg), a good weight for a cub his age.”

The cub, which rescue operators named “Thumper”, is able to lap milk substitute from a bowl, which should make his transition to the wild easier.

“This means he won’t have to be bottle-fed,” the post said. “Which will reduce human contact and the risk of habituation.”

Bear rehabilitators echoed the TWRA’s advice when it comes to reporting a young bear found in the wild.

“To a mother bear, trees are like daycare centers and they will often park their offspring in or near a tree while they forage for food,” the post said. “If you see little bears in trees or on the ground DO NOT assume they’re orphaned and DO NOT touch them. Rather, keep your distance and if you’re in Tennessee, call TWRA at 800-831-1174 to report your concerns. Mother bears know where they leave their cubs but might be too afraid to approach if there are people around.”

After a visit to the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Thumper was given a clean bill of health and standard medications. Rehabilitators are hopeful for a release later this year when the cub is able to survive on his own.

“He was in a tree at the edge of a very busy street and it was quite likely he would have been hit by a car,” the organization said. “There is no way to reunite him with his mother, and it’s too late to foster him to another bear family. Thumper will be with us probably until late fall, and we will do our best for him.”