In our last post we promised to bring everyone up to date on the Big Changes at ABR, starting with the release of our yearling, #349 Tartan Bear. His release happened on June 30, 2022. Here’s the story of Tartan and his release.

We’ll start with a photo of Tartan before his rescue, which was April 6, 2022.

He had been observed alone, and it was a few weeks before the natural family breakup, when sows chase away their yearlings. Tartan seemed to be struggling to find food.

When he was weighed at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, he weighed just over 22 pounds, less than half what a normal, 14-month old yearling should weigh.

He went into the Hartley House for a few days, to take his de-worming medicine and start eating nutritious food.

On April 10th, he was moved into Wild Enclosure #2, as the first ABR bear of the year.

On the way to the Wild Enclosure, the curators weighed him and found that he had already started to gain weight. He weighed 25.8 pounds!

Out into the Wild Enclosure he went.

He was much happier being outside again.

Tartan wasn’t a fan of the Cubby Pool, but he did try it out a time or two. He seemed to prefer soaking in the Drinking Tub.

Like all bears, Tartan was a good climber, and up in a tree was a favorite place to be.

He played with his Swingy Ball, and also played with sticks and twigs.

He explored the vertical den, and we feared he would have to be extracted. Luckily, he got out on his own.

He developed wonderful balance and coordination!

Tartan loved the Tire Bridge.

Tire Water was a favorite beverage.

The curators were happy when Tartan began using the resting platform along with the high branches in trees.

Tartan is a strong young bear! He tore the wooden end off of this culvert den, which caused Curator Coy to enter the enclosure to make a repair.

He became a handsome yearling.

Tartan was ready to return to the wild!

Dr, Julie Sheldon and her team from UTCVM, checked Tartan, along with the ABR staff and Ranger Ryan Williamson of the GSMNP.

Almost ready to go.

Tartan weighed 93 pounds, an impressive weight gain.

Workup completed – Tartan is carried to the truck for his trip back to freedom in the wild!

Goodbye and good luck, Tartan Bear! Live free and happy, and stay away from humans!