The grizzly cubs of a Yellowstone National Park bear put down in August have arrived at the Toledo Zoo.
After their mother (identified by wildlife photographers and local observers as a bear named Blaze) was put down for its involvement in the death of a hiker, Park officials announced the cubs would be moved to the Toledo Zoo.
Zoo officials have noted the bears—twin grizzly cubs—seemed in good health when they arrived, weighing 60 to 70 pounds each.
The cubs’ arrival at the Toledo Zoo marks the first brown bears the facility has received in over 30 years. They are currently undergoing quarantine and will not be introduced to the brown bear exhibit for 30 to 60 days.
Without the intervention of the Toledo Zoo (or a comparable facility) the bears would likely have been put down as well, as they are too young to fend on their own, according to Dr. Randi Meyerson, assistant director of animal programs at the Toledo Zoo.
The choice to move the grizzly cubs to a zoo has not been unanimously praised or accepted.
“If we didn’t feel we could give them a good quality of life and a good place to live, we wouldn’t have committed to taking them,” [Meyerson] said.
An online petition seeking to block the cubs’ transfer to any zoo called “Send Orphaned Grizzly Cubs to a Rehabilitation Center or Sanctuary … Not a Zoo!” garnered more than 196,200 signatures.
The quarantine period is meant to help the bears get accustomed to their new surroundings and ensure they are healthy, both physically and mentally.
They are shy and a bit cautious,” [Meyerson] said, noting that’s not unusual for any incoming animal. “We’re letting them settle in on their own.”
The bears won’t be placed on exhibit until their quarantine process is complete and they are sufficiently acclimated.
“Our main priority is the bears’ welfare. We’re not going to rush them,” Dr. Meyerson said. “The bears will determine when it’s time for them to be on exhibit.”