TWAS staff evaluated Ricki's condition and determined she was ready to be released into the full habitat. Once her introduction pen door was opened, Ricki began making short exploration trips into her new large acreage home. In addition to getting used to the layout of her new digs, Ricki was able to begin making friends with some of the other rescued Bears that share the space.
Josie, a small female Black Bear that had been previously rescued from an illegal Bear Baiting operation in North Carolina, was the first Bear Ricki befriended, and the two were seen hanging out together on numerous occasions. Yet, with all the new sights, sounds, and other furry inhabitants, Ricki is still playing it safe and chooses to return to her introduction den each night.