Four Rescued Bear Cubs from Alaska and Montana Find a New Home at the WCS Bronx Zoo
WCS emphasizes importance of peaceful coexistence of humans and wildlife.
Bronx, NY – Thursday, January 28 – The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo today announced the debut of three young brown bears and one young grizzly bear that were rescued in separate incidences in Alaska and Montana.
The three brown bear cubs are siblings and originally from Baranof Island, Alaska. 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. 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.
While the bears are from two different states, they share a common story: Their mothers were killed after wandering too close to humans.
“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: 1. Educate people about keeping human food away from bears; 2. Enforce requirements and laws; and 3. 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. 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.
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The Bronx Zoo, a Wildlife Conservation Society park, is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Martin Luther King Day. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. WCS’s Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.