True Facts about Smokey Bear, by National Zoological Park (U.S.), January 28, 1974, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, This three-page handout, prepared by the National Zoological Park, provides the "True Facts about Smokey Bear." It opens noting, "We have to face it - Smokey is an old Bear," and provides an overview of Smokey's life story. It discusses that bears rarely live beyond 25 years while Smokey is now 24. It discusses the current popularity of the giant pandas and how old age is slowing Smokey down. Smokey Bear Junior is taking over his role. But it also notes how comfortable his quarters are and how devoted staff and veterinarians care for him daily..