In our last post we provided a link to the short video of Summitt’s release.  You saw him jumping down from the truck and running off into the forest.  As we did with the story of Dani Bear’s release, we will remind you of Summitt Bear at ABR, from his arrival in March to the workup for his release on August 6th.

You may remember that Summitt arrived as a very sick, lethargic  yearling at the age of 14 months, weighing only 23.14 pounds.  At his initial exam at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine  he was found to be extremely anemic and he had to return for a blood transfusion!  This was the first bear blood transfusion in UT history.  The blood donor was a 3-year-old black bear at the Knoxville Zoo.

Summitt transfusion

Summitt Bear receives the first ever UTCVM bear blood transfusion.

Summitt

Summitt in the Cub Nursery after his transfusion.

It wasn’t long before Summitt showed that he wanted out of the small pen.  Next stop – The Cub House.

Summitt

Summitt wasn’t happy here, either. He tore the plastic sheets off of the wall.

It was obvious that he was feeling better, so he was allowed into the Acclimation Pen.

Summitt

Even this was not enough space for Summitt.

The door to the Wild Enclosure was lifted and Summitt was out in a more natural habitat, where he would thrive until his release.

Summitt

Summitt didn’t hesitate to go outside.

Summitt

He was a much happier bear in the Wild Enclosure.

For a time the curators worried that he was unable to climb, as he spent all of his time in the underbrush near trees but not climbing them.

Summitt

On April 18, after nearly 3 weeks at ABR, he showed that he was very good at climbing trees.

From then on, he divided his time between hiding in underbrush and hanging out in trees.

Summitt

Now the worry was that he didn’t come down from the tree!

Summitt

After a month, Summitt was looking better and putting on much-needed weight.

Summitt

When he was on the ground, Summitt made daybeds for himself and was hard to see.

Wild bears use daybeds during their active period (spring through fall).  As a cub last year, Summitt likely learned about daybeds from his mother.

On June 1st, another yearling, #262 (Dani Bear) was rescued and admitted to ABR.  She was released into the same Wild Enclosure as Summitt.  She was released  a couple of days before he was.

Dani and Summitt

Dani and Summitt Bear shared the same tree. Although they didn’t interact they coexisted peacefully.

Summitt

During June and July, Summitt was most often seen resting on his special branch of the tree.

Summitt

He was a very laid back, relaxed bear!

Summitt Bear endeared himself to ABR followers because of his totally relaxed demeanor.  He ate and grew until he was deemed ready for release back into the wild.  Watch for the rest of the story in our next post.