American Black Bear Cub

Bears are symbolic animals in many art traditions, including Native American folklore. Their ability to walk on two legs made them seem closely linked with people, and their ability to fight even when injured made them symbols of strength, determination and healing. Notice this little bearcub’s expression. What do you think the artist is telling us about this little character? There is one other sculpture in the sculpture zoo series by Bob Guelich. Here is a clue. You can spot Guelich’s work by looking out for the unique way he creates the texture of an animal’s hair.

The plinth for this artwork is in the shape of a tree stump and was created by artists Connie Brenner and Wendy Carter. They worked hard to create a base that blended with the environment of the riverbank and the sculpture.

By Bob Guelich

While Bob Guelich was once solely a painter, he learned that he loved sculpture because he preferred working three-dimensionally and felt that it better expressed his creativity and love for animals. Guelich has created artworks for zoos, sculpture parks, and universities all across the United States. He has also won several national awards including the National Sculpture Society Gold Award for his artwork.

View all sculptures by this artist.

Did You Know?

  • Bear cubs are very playful. In fact, play fighting is very important for young bears because it teaches them how to defend themselves in the wild.
  • If play fighting gets too rough, the mama bear will often discipline them.
  • Bear cubs learn from their mother how to find food and hunt and will usually stay with their her until they are 2 years old. 
  • The American Black Bear is the smallest and most numerous bear species on the North American continent, but it’s becoming endangered in many places, including Texas.
  • Black Bears are inquisitive, adaptive, and quite intelligent as they show signs of insight and planning.

At The Zoo

Waco has American black bear enclosures in two places: Cameron Park Zoo and Baylor University Campus. Why? Because in 1914, Baylor students chose the bear as their mascot (over contenders including buffalo, antelope, frog, ferret and bookworm). Even though bears no longer live wild in this area, the bear symbolizes Waco for many people.


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