By all accounts, bears are quick learners and having done one test, they refused the onset of treats prior to the next with substantial resistance. By substantial, I mean they had to sedate the bears to near unconsciousness, rendering the biometric data useless! This increased the budget for bear acquisition to intolerable levels, thus ending the short “bears in the air” period of the B-58 program.
According to the government white paper on the subject all bears were destroyed shortly on return to base. All but the last three bears suffered serious internal injuries and multiple broken bones. 'Several hundred' bears were acquired for this purpose, all of which were destroyed 'in or after the testing process, by the testing process or by gun shot to the heart to preserve cranial damage from impacts'.
The NAL staff doted on Felicia, feeding her chicken, liver, fish heads, and raw hamburger—her favorite. Some employees even took Felicia to their home for the night when the mink farm she generally bunked at had no room for her.
The Village Crier noted, “It is planned that Felicia’s body will be stuffed and mounted to be displayed permanently as a symbol of early NAL development.”
But if Felicia was taxidermied, there’s no record of it. “I’ve never found any evidence that that happened, and nobody remembers that ever happening,” says Higgins, who tried to track down people who worked with Felicia or might have more information about her fate after death. She had no luck. Many have since died.
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