The curators observed Sola for several hours and then seeing that she was eating and drinking as she should, decided to release her into the Wild Enclosure the very next day.  Like all bear cubs, Sola did not like being in a cage environment, and needed to be outside in the natural habitat.

Sola in pen

Sola explored the confines of the acclimation pen.

Sola pacing

She did some pacing , an indication that she was ready to go outside.

Sola at the gate

She waited at the gate, as if she knew that was the exit.

Curator Janet threw some grapes outside of the gate, and then remotely opened it so Sola could get out.  She did not hesitate!  She ate the grapes, foraged a bit for food on the ground, checked out the natural-looking dens, and then headed straight to a tree for safety.

Sola in tree

Sola climbed a tree.

She settled herself in the tree.

Sola in tree

Sola in her chosen tree.

She found some insects on the branch, and promptly licked them off.

Sola eats insects

Sola eats insects on the branch.

When Sola entered the Wild Enclosure, the 5 cubs already there – Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway, Marvin, Carter, and Noli – quickly climbed their own trees, so there was no interaction.  We’ll wait to see if the 6 cubs become friends in time.  So far, Bonnie Blue, Ridgeway, and Marvin are a tight group, playing and foraging together.  Carter and Noli do not socialize with them but sometimes share a tree themselves and occasionally forage together.  It will be interesting to watch how the social interactions (or non-interactions) develop.