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Orphaned Bear Cubs Make Detroit Zoo Debut

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(credit: Mark M. Gaskill, Phoenix Innovate)

(credit: Mark M. Gaskill, Phoenix Innovate)

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ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – The wait is over. After a long winter’s nap, three grizzly bear cubs have made their public debut at the Detroit Zoo.

Thor, Mike and Boo came to the Zoo last fall from the Alaskan wild, after their mother was shot and killed.

The now 14-month-old brothers were orphaned in October 2011 and had been spotted in residential areas around Anchorage scrounging for food.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacted the  Detroit Zoological Society seeking a home for the trio after determining that the cubs would not survive the winter on their own. The cubs were temporarily housed at the Alaska Zoo before arriving in Detroit.

Scott Carter, Chief Life Sciences Officers at the Detroit Zoo said the Zoo has a history of helping animals in need of a new home.

“Often, when we have to rescue an animal, it’s from a different captive setting. A private individual has an animal or a roadside zoo …  in a couple of cases circuses,” Carter told WWJ Newsradio 950. “In this case this is a little different because these animals came from the wild.”

Carter talked about how they are are adjusting.

grizzly cubs photo by mark m gaskill phoenix innovate e1332449593949 Orphaned Bear Cubs Make Detroit Zoo Debut

(credit: Mark M. Gaskill, Phoenix Innovate)

“Of course they have a nice, big habitat with grass and trees and a big pool that they love, people who love to take care of them, and a lot of food,” he said. “A lot of food makes a bear happy, so they seem to be very happy.”

The cubs are already boys – weighing between 220 and 250 pounds each.

The bears’ 8,400-square-foot habitat, which includes 40-foot rock wall, was one of the first animal exhibits to debut when the Zoo opened in 1928. The enclosure was groundbreaking at the time because it featured a moat instead of bars to give visitors an unobstructed view of the animals.

The Detroit Zoo is also home to two other rescued grizzly bears – 28-year-old female Kintla and 27-year-old Lakota – both of which arrived at the Zoo as 2-year-olds.

For Zoo hours and information, visit www.detroitzoo.org

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