As you know, Milo Bear, who arrived at ABR as a starving, eleven-month-old cub in December, has shown great reluctance to leave.  It is somewhat understandable, given that Milo had such a very rough time before and even after his capture and transfer to ABR.  We’ll review his story here.  He was one of the many starving, malnourished cubs that resulted from the very poor acorn crop in the fall.


Milo was very malnourished in December when he arrived.

After a couple of days, Milo vomited and the curators noticed there was some sort of rubbery material in his scat..  They returned him to the UT College of Veterinary Medicine where he was intubated and his stomach was pumped to remove the material.

Milo - UTCVM

Milo was intubated and his stomach pumped in January.

Back at ABR in The Cub Nursery, a few days later he was not eating and seemed lethargic.  He was given an ultrasound.


Milo was taken for an ultrasound at UTCVM.


The ultrasound revealed lesions in his intestines and profound irritation.

The condition was a result of prolonged starvation as well as the ingestion of the rubbery material.  He had been so desperate for food that he was eating anything that he found.  Medicine was prescribed and Milo returned to The Cub Nursery to follow a very strict, controlled diet.

Milo-baby food

Milo was fed chicken baby food to give him easily digested nourishment..


Recovering well, later in January Milo was transferred to an Outdoor Acclimation Pen.

Milo-wild enclosure

Still later in January, Milo was released into the Wild Enclosure.

In the Wild Enclosure, Milo grew and thrived.  He put on weight and gradually became a healthy yearling bear.

Milo and Zellie

Milo with Zellie, an Enclosure mate, in February.

Milo -

Milo hanging out in the Wild Enclosure in February.

By April, Milo was deemed ready for release.  Ken LaValley took several “portraits” of the resident bears in  preparation for their releases.

Milo portrait

Milo’s portrait in April, taken by our photographer of record, Ken LaValley.

However, Milo was not released as planned, on April 29th.  He stubbornly remained in his tree as two more months went by.  With the exception of Lucinda (the most recent yearling to be admitted) all of the yearlings were released – except for Milo.

Milo - May

Milo remained through May, spending most of his time in his favorite tree.


This photo was taken in June.

The photos of Milo that we posted a few days ago were taken just before he was captured for release.  The curators had been trying everything they could think of to entice the clever bear.  They had tried many foods (even some, like donuts, that they never give to bears in our care.  They had tried various traps, disguising them with branches and foliage. Finally, Curator Coy and Park Ranger Ryan Williamson decided the time had come!  As luck would have it, Coy noticed that Milo was uncharacteristically down on the ground.  Coy and Ryan entered the enclosure and Coy went over to Milo’s tree, blocking it.  Milo ran from the human in his space, and ran right into the Acclimation Pen!  He was easily darted for his workup and release.

Milo-68 pounds

Milo weighed 68 pounds! A healthy yearling bear.

The only glitch in the plan was the heat.  Because of the heat they had to surround Milo with ice packs and give him a cold water enema to cool his body.

Milo - cool off

Milo surrounded by ice bags and wet from a shower of cold water.

Milo - paw

Milo’s paw. He’ll be a big bear.


Milo’s back foot.

Milo teeth

Milo has a healthy mouth and good teeth.


Ryan Williamson and Curator Coy fir the GPS collar on Milo.

Milo Bear will be a part of Curator Coy’s study.  It will be interesting to see where he and all the other yearlings travel during the coming months.

Milo - release.

Milo after his release – of course he headed for a tree!

We were able to get a very short video of Milo’s release.  Click here to see how quickly he runs into the forest!  In spite of his seeming reluctance to leave ABR, we can see that he is very happy to be back where he belongs.  We wish Milo a long, healthy and happy life in the wild!