Smokey Jr. was brought to the Zoo for care and rehabilitation after being rescued from brush fires in Lake County back in April. He came in alert and reactive with a good appetite with mild singeing of the hair, but he otherwise appeared healthy and strong.
The Zoo cared for the young cub using Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) protocols, as it has for numerous others, with the eventual goal of reintroducing him back to the wild. The minimal interaction with Smokey Jr. reduced the likelihood of habituation to help with his reintroduction.
Smokey was temporarily relocated to Homosassa State Park in Citrus County before his release. The cub was about 100 pounds when released into the 53,000-acre forest in Marion County.
We are so pleased to have been a part of this happy ending!