On the 50th anniversary of the fire-surviving bear
that became a symbol for the Forest Service, an 18-month-old bear
cub was found digging through embers near the Tahoe City, Calif.,
fire. Smokey was younger than this cub when found, and spent the
rest of his life at the Washington, D.C., National Zoo. But the
1994 cub will never become a poster bear, says Guy Pence, district
ranger for the Toiyabe National Forest. She can forage for herself.
So when all four badly burned paws are healed and the cub has had
enough antibiotic-laced bananas, wildlife officials plan to return
her to the wild. The bear will not be named, adds Pence, because
"then it takes on a personality. Our goal is to release it to its
natural habitat and limit any contact."