The 11-month old male bear was released at a remote site in theKlamath National Forest by California Department of Fish and Game personnel. While the actual release site is being kept concealed, it is a natural bear den located within 75 miles of where the cub was originally found. DFG outfitted Lil’ Smokey with an electronic transmitter before release so that his movements can be periodically monitored.
“Rehabilitating and releasing orphaned bear cubs is a rewarding part of our bear management program,” said DFG staff environmental scientist Doug Updike. “This is a second chance at survival for a cub that would certainly have died.”
The little bear generated much public attention and concern since being rescued. LTWC created a blog and also installed a webcam in his cage so that the public could keep up on his care and rehabilitation. The cam today shows the empty cage where Lil’ Smokey lived, with a handwritten sign in it that reads “Gone Home.”
Lil’ Smokey receiving treatment by DFG wildlife veterinarians in Sacramento shortly after being rescued. Credit: Debra Hamilton/DFG Lil’ Smokey at his release today. Credit: Greg Barnette/Redding Record-Searchlight