Li’l Smokey set for release |

Li’l Smokey set for release

Associated Press

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (AP) ” Li’l Smokey is getting a little sleepy.

The badly injured bear cub that was rescued from a Northern California wildfire this summer is going into hibernation at a South Lake Tahoe rescue shelter.

Tom Millham of the nonprofit Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care says the cub’s burned paws have healed enough that he can be released in January or February.

Millham says he’ll be transferred to the wild while he is still hibernating so he’ll be ready to forage once he wakes up next spring. He’ll be released near the border of Trinity and Shasta counties, within 50 miles of where a firefighter found him in July.

He weighed about eight pounds at the time. Now he’s 11 months old and nearly 90 pounds.