It’s release time – in order for the cubs to get to their new, wild homes and have time to find dens and prepare for their winter sleep.  We told you about Persimmon Bear a few days ago.  Next it was Willow’s turn.

Willow Bear arrived in early June, having been hit by a car that killed her sibling.  We will review her stay at ABR in this post and in the next one we’ll show the release procedure.

Willow had her checkup at the UT Vet School.  Look how tiny she was!

Willow weighed just 8.8 pounds.

She needed fluids. After the fluids were given, she perked up.

Willow went to the Cub Nursery at ABR.

In a few days she wanted OUT of the nursery.

She was placed in the Red Roof Recovery Center, but that didn’t satisfy her.

Next stop was the Acclimation Pen for a very short time.

The Cub House was larger, but still not enough for Willow.

When she first entered the
Acclimation Pen with Viola and Clementine, Willow hid.  Soon they were friends.

The three cubs entered the Wild Enclosure together.

Willow slept on the platform with her buddies.

They played on the tire bridge.

The three cubs climbed trees together.

After Clementine’s death, Bosco Bear joined the girls. They became friends.

The trio foraged and ate together. They were eating a lot.

Willow was growing.

She rested in the trees.

Willow was a good swimmer during the summer.

Willow was becoming a beautiful bear.

She was growing a lot.

Willow had become a big little bear!

She was ready to go back to the wild.

And on December 7th, six months after she arrived, Willow Bear did go home.  We’ll show her workup and release in our next post.