We’ve been reporting on the two 2016 cubs and neglected to share the photos from the release of Pumpkin and Bailey Bear that took place several days ago on April 29th.  Here are photos of them earlier in their stay at ABR and on their big day when they returned to the wild.

Pumpkin Bear arrived at ABR in October 2015 and was one of the earliest victims of the mast (acorn) crop failure to come to us for help.  Although at 24 pounds she was heavier than many of our later admissions, she was very much underweight for her age and  wildlife officers felt she couldn’t survive the winter alone.

Pumpkin

After her checkup at the UTCVM, Pumpkin Bear was housed in an Acclimation Pen at ABR.

Pumpkin

She did well in the Acclimation Pen and soon was released into a Wild Enclosure.

Pumpkin

In November she was out in the Wild Enclosure.

Pumpkin

By December it was apparent that she was growing.

Pumpkin

January showed her putting on weight as she foraged for food.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin’s portrait, taken in April.

Here is the sequence of photos of the workup of Pumpkin Bear on April 29th.

UT vets

UT vets and interns assisted at the workup.

Blood samples

Blood samples were taken.

Curators Coy and Rick

Curators Coy and Rick worked on Pumpkin

Pumpkin teeth

Her teeth and mouth were inspected. She has healthy teeth.

Pumpkin's paw

Pumpkin’s paws were checked.

GPS collar

She was fitted with a GPS collar.

Into truck

Loaded into the truck, she was ready to go.

Next up was Bailey Bear.  Her story was unique in that she was admitted to ABR twice!  She came to us in late January, weighing just 16 pounds – a very small, malnourished yearling.  The next day, Bailey Bear escaped from her outdoor Acclimation Pen!  Many cubs had been housed in this pen before, and none had escaped.  Bailey must have been very determined.  The tiny gap through which she squeezed has now been repaired so it won’t happen again.  Bailey was “on the lam” for eight days before she was recaptured on February 4th.  She was returned to the UTCVM for another exam, and was found to have lost half her weight, which she could not afford to lose!

Bailey

Bailey when she was returned to ABR in February.

Bailey UT

Bailey’s second exam at UT. She had lost weight.

In order to make sure she stayed confined as she started to regain her weight, she was housed in a special pen in the Cub Garage for a while.

Bailey

Bailey was confined in a special pen in the Cub Garage.  She was an enthusiastic eater!

Bailey

In February she was ready for the Wild Enclosure.

Bailey

By March she was looking healthier and gaining weight.

Bailey

Bailey’s April portrait.  She had become a beautiful, healthy yearling bear.

Bailey

Bailey Bear at her workup.  She weighed 51 pounds.

Bailey exam

The UT vet team examined Bailey.

Bailey measured

Bailey was measured by the wildlife officer.

Bailey paws

Her paws were checked.

Bailey teeth

Bailey has healthy teeth.

Bailey is placed in the transport carrier on the truck.

Bailey is placed in the transport carrier on the truck.

Both bears are now out in their natural habitat, running free.  We hope that they will have long and happy lives, and have plenty of food to eat in the wild.  We are glad that these two, as well as the others, are getting their second chance at a wild life!

Our yearling population is now down to four.  One of these has been eluding capture but is ready for release.  The other three are smaller and still need time to put on a bit more weight.  All of these yearlings should be released sometime in May.