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.
It wasn’t long before Summitt showed that he wanted out of the small pen. Next stop – The Cub House.
It was obvious that he was feeling better, so he was allowed into the Acclimation Pen.
The door to the Wild Enclosure was lifted and Summitt was out in a more natural habitat, where he would thrive until his release.
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.
From then on, he divided his time between hiding in underbrush and hanging out in trees.
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.
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.