Bear #232 – Herbie Bear – arrived at ABR in December, 2015.  He wasn’t as malnourished as the bears that came later, but, at 27.5 pounds he was too small to have survived the winter without eating.  He spent most of his time in Wild Enclosure #2, where he thrived and ate all the good food provided.  On February 26, 2016 Herbie Bear was released back into the wild.  This, as you know, is the goal of ABR – to give a cub or yearling bear a second chance at the wild life it was born to live.  We have some photos of the release procedure to share with you.

First, we’ll look at Herbie just a few days after his arrival, when he was released into a Wild Enclosure.


Herbie soon after his arrival in December.

A month later, he had grown and was looking good.


Herbie was larger in January as he foraged in the snow.

Fast-forward to February 26th and here are the steps taken to prepare him for release.

Release kit

The release kit contains all the needed items for working up a bear.

Going to get Herbie

Ryan Williamson, GSMNP Wildlife Officer and Curator Coy go to get Herbie.

To staging area

Here comes Herbie toward the staging area.

Herbie weighs 91 pounds

Herbie is weighed. He weighs 91 pounds!


His temperature is taken.


His pulse is taken on his tongue.

Paw measured

His paw is measured.

Measure and collar

Herbie is measured and the GPS collar is fastened on his neck.

To the truck

Curators Coy and Greg carry Herbie to the truck.

Into the truck

Herbie goes into the transport cage.

Door opened

At the release site, ABR president Dana Dodd raises the door to release Herbie.

Herbie up a tree

Herbie scampers up a nearby tree.

Herbie runs to woods

He comes down the tree and runs off toward the woods.

Herbie looks back

Herbie looks back for a moment before disappearing into the woods.

We can’t help but wonder if he was looking back to say “thank you” to ABR for his rescue and care.  We wish Herbie Bear a long and happy life in the wild.