Facebook66Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Mason County PUDSparky, the orphaned bear who took refuge in a Bonneville Power Administration substation last year, returned to the wild earlier this month.In October 2015, a frightened bear cub wandered into the utility sub-station in Shelton.“Folks really took to the little fellow,” said Joel Myer, spokesman for Mason County Public Utility District No. 3, the local utility that affectionately named the bear cub Sparky after he narrowly avoided electrocution. “We’re thrilled to hear Sparky is healthy and back home in the woods.”Last October, the frightened black bear cub entered BPA’s substation in Shelton, Wash., about 20 miles northwest of Olympia, and climbed on energized high-voltage electrical equipment. (Read Sparky’s backstory.)“That was a really close call,” recalled substation operator Bob Armanino, whose quick action to de-energize the equipment saved the bear’s life. “Hopefully, Sparky’s done touring power substations.”Sparky was lured out of the substation by donuts.Eventually, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff lured him out of the substation and into a trap with donuts. About a week later, he was taken to Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation (IBBR) near Boise.“He weighed just 40 pounds when we took him in and was too young to take care of himself,” said center founder Sally Maughan.“He is a big, beautiful 178-pound bear now,” Maughan said.Sparky is now a healthy bear and has been released back into the wild.In preparation for his return to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Sparky was tranquilized, marked, tagged and given a health check. He was one of eight bears released by the rehab center on May 11.According to IBBR, more than 96 percent of the bears released successfully reintegrate back into the wild.