Washington Zoo Takes in Grizzly Bear Cub Whose Mother Was Euthanized in Montana

by Craig Garrett
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Recently, Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo took in its second orphaned grizzly bear cub. The newest cub was brought from Montana on October 3rd. Unfortunately, her mother had to be euthanized last month by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. This was after multiple encounters with humans, KOMO News reports.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), the mother of the cub frequently broke into a home through unsecured areas. She also killed chickens that were fenced in by electricity and broke into compounds. Hazing efforts such as firing rubber bullets or paintballs at her, using electric fences, and making noise did not deter her either. The FWP decided to euthanize the grizzly bear after it had been captured and relocated twice for similar conflicts.

The new, yet-to-be-named female cub was born last winter and immediately taken to the zoo’s hospital for a 30-day quarantine. When she first arrived, the cub weighed 95 pounds but is now under close observation by staff to ensure her health. Another brown bear cub, found at an air force base near Anchorage in July, was welcomed to the zoo. Biologists believe that Juniper, the cub, was born last winter.

According to zoo staff, Juniper is adjusting nicely and currently lives on the Living Northwest Trail. Interim senior director of Animal Management at the zoo, Kevin Murphy stated that he desires the two cubs – who are close in age – to be able to frolic and relish each other’s company for years down the road.

The New Grizzly Bear Cub is the First Since the 90s for the Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo’s most recent brown bear acquisition was in 1994. That’s when 10-month-old brothers Keema and Denali arrived from Washington State University Bear Center. As of December 2020, Denali has passed away due to old age just shy of his 27th birthday. This left Keema as the only grizzly bear in the zoo. Male grizzly bears usually only live for about 21 years in human care, and their life expectancy is even shorter in the wild.

Brown bears and grizzly bears are the same species, Ursus arctos, according to the zoo. The common name brown bear typically refers to coastal bears. Meanwhile, the term grizzly bear is used for smaller inland bears. All grizzlies are brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies.

Grizzly bears used to reside in North America from Alaska all the way down to Mexico and as east as Hudson Bay’s western shores. Now, they are predominantly found in Alaska, southern Canada, and some northwestern parts of the United States. They are found as far south as Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. In Canada alone, there is a population of around 25,000 grizzly bears living across British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory Nunavut, and Manitoba’s northern region.

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