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Rescued bear cubs find a home in New York’s Bronx Zoo (photos)

Three young brown bears and a young grizzly bear that were rescued in separate incidences in Alaska and Montana have found a new home in New York’s Bronx Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society said today.

This grizzly bear cub investigates his new home at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. He was rescued in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

The three brown bear cubs are siblings and originally from Baranof Island, Alaska,” WCS said in a statement accompanying these photographs. “The orphaned cubs were rescued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and temporarily held at Fortress of The Bear, an education and rescue center for bears in Sitka, Alaska.”

The young grizzly bear is a male from Glacier National Park in Montana. After being rescued by park rangers, he was kept for a few days at Washington State University’s Bear Center before coming to WCS’s Bronx Zoo.

“All four bear cubs are healthy and adjusting quickly to their new surroundings,” said Jim Breheny, WCS senior vice president of Living Institutions and director of the Bronx Zoo. “We are happy to provide a home for these beautiful animals that would not have been able to survive in the wild without their mothers.”

The brown bears were born in early 2009 in southeastern Alaska, WCS added. “The largest male is named Kootz which means brown bear in the Tlinget language. The smaller male is named Denali after the national park in Alaska, and the female is named Sitka after the fishing town in which they lived for a month after their rescue.”

Glacier, the young male grizzly, is a year older than the Alaska bears and named for the national park in Montana where he was born.


These three brown bear cubs are playing in the snow and ice in their new home at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.  They were rescued from Baranof Island, Alaska.

Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

While the bears are from two different states, they share a common story: Their mothers were killed after wandering too close to humans, WCS said.

“Visitors will enjoy seeing these bears, and their stories can help teach us why we must learn to coexist with wildlife,” said Breheny. “Given that people are building homes inside prime bear habitat, it is unrealistic to expect those areas to be free of bears and that there won’t be encounters between people and bears. Instead, we should look for ways to co-exist.”

WCS conservationists work in the Adirondacks and the American West to educate the public on how to reduce human/bear conflicts.

A WCS paper published on bear and human coexistence outlines strategies for better relations between bears and people:

  • Educate people about keeping human food away from bears;
  • Enforce requirements and laws; and
  • Make land use decisions that will minimize interactions between people and bears. Further, the report notes that reducing conflict requires teaching people how to avoid attracting bears and managing bear populations through monitoring and using non-lethal deterrents.

“Bears are only one example of species affected by suburban expansion,” WCS said. “Animals are being forced to live in increasingly smaller parcels of land, making interaction with humans inevitable. Wildlife eventually becomes adapted to people, and with the animal’s search for food, interactions can become dangerous for both.”