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Rafter rescues cub from river

Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), a facility based in Townsend for orphaned and injured black bears, picked up Cub 207 last week from Unicoi County.
After being spotted by rafting guides for three-straight days, “Noli Bear,” a five-month-old cub, was rescued on Thursday, July 9, on the Nolichucky River. Since the rescue, the story received worldwide attention with stories coming from the U.S. and media outlets in the United Kingdom.
“Noli Bear is continuing to get better and gain strength inside the ABR Cub House,” ABR President Dana Dodd said in an interview with The Erwin Record.
Noli was stranded on a steep river bank, with no mother bear insight, a mile up stream across the North Carolina border, USA Raft president Matt Moses said in a telephone interview with The Erwin Record on Monday.
Danny “Shaggy” Allen, a Flag Pond-native and guide for High Mountain Expedition of Boone North Carolina, docked up to retrieve the bear and brought it to the USA Raft riverside property.
“Our guides saw Noli for three days,” Moses explained. “You could tell he was visibly dehydrated and malnourished but would keep trying to swim and make an attempt to get into a raft.”
Allen linked up with Noli and once they made it to the property, TWRA and ABR were both called to treat the cub.
“I knew the work ABR puts in after living in the Townsend area,” Moses said. “Their response was great. We’re trained outdoor professionals and in any situation like that, we’re going to help an animal.”
Dodd applauded the efforts of USA Raft and TWRA but stated that if the general public sees a cub alone on any river, they should not feed or make contact with it. Attempting to rescue a cub is illegal, according to the ABR president, and can cause harm to an individual or a cub. Dodd said that if anyone encounters a cub that could be abandoned or injured that they need to contact TWRA to handle the matter.
“Allen was a professional in the matter,” Moses said. “With the type of raft he used, it was just him, his equipment and Noli on the raft and he was able to safely navigate down the river. I knew he had his hands full with a balancing act bringing him here.”
ABR Curator Janet Dalton received the cub and delivered Noli to veterinarians at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for care before heading to Townsend.
“Noli is in great hands,” Moses said about ABR. “When he was at our facility, we made sure we gave him a dog bowl full of water, kept him near the shade and had to do a bit of crowd control for people wanting to see the cub. TWRA responded within the hour.”
ABR currently has five black bear cubs and one yearling, two cubs are from the region including Marvin Bear, from Greene County, and Carter Bear, from Carter County.
Dodd added that once Noli regroups, he could be placed with the other bears at the facility. After full rehab, Noli could be released back into the area.
The facility in Townsend allows bears to recuperate in a safe atmosphere. Dodd added that individuals painted the walls inside the “Cub House” to illustrate an outdoor setting for injured bears to give them a nice sense of safety and bit of an outdoor atmosphere.
“The support for Noli has been great,” Moses said about Noli’s journey that went viral. “I’ve been on the phone all weekend with newspapers and news stations across the world.”