June 29, 1950 Smokey Bear, an orphaned, four-month-old black cub rescued from a forest fire in Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico, arrives at the National Zoological Park. The National Park Service erects an educational exhibit next to Smokey’s enclosure, and the bear becomes a famous symbol of fire prevention.
Little Smokey, who also was born in the Lincoln National Forest but was not the victim of fire (he was orphaned and rescued from starvation by the Forest Service) was added to the zoo in 1971. Little Smokey would carry the torch of his namesake, who was nearing retirement (Smokey would turn 25 in 1975, which is the equivalent to roughly 70 human years, the mandatory retirement age for federal employees).
The original Smokey bear died in 1976. A Congressional resolution of 1974 stipulated that Smokey’s remains would be returned to New Mexico, where he would be buried at the Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, not far from where he was found.
Posted: 29 June 2017