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Orphaned grizzly cubs make Detroit debut

Goldilocks, stay away. The three bear cubs are here to stay.

At the Detroit Zoo, that is.


Boo, an orphaned grizzly cub, was named after the day he was captured — Halloween.

Three orphaned grizzly cubs — named Boo, Thor and Mike — made their Detroit debut at the zoo on Thursday.

The 14-month-old bears became orphaned in October 2011, after their mother was shot and killed by poachers in Alaska.

Rescued by the Detroit Zoological Society, in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the cubs arrived at the zoo in December and have spent a few months in a private off-exhibit habitat before moving to their current habitat on March 20.

“They were incredibly stressed when they were first captured,” Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit Zoo, said.

Mike and Thor were named after the owners of the land they were found on, and Boo was named after Halloween — the date he was captured.

The cubs aren’t small though. Measuring about 4 1/2 feet tall and weighing between 215 and 255 pounds, the animals feed off a diet of meat, fish and dog food.


Three orphaned bear cubs made their debut at the Detroit Zoo on Thursday, March 22. The bears are 14-months-old.

“The cubs are healthy and robust, and they have adjusted extremely well to their new environment,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer. “They are having a great time exploring their habitat and playing in their pool.”

Though Michigan is a lot warmer than Alaska, Bob Lessnau, curator of mammals at the zoo, said the weather shouldn’t pose a problem to the animals.

“The weather is a lot harsher in Alaska but they’ll acclimate,” Lessnau said. “They’re also still getting adjusted to their new surroundings, but they seem to love it.”

According to Lessnau, the zoo has been working with bears since the 1930s and their new habit has housed many bears.

“It’s a really good story … it’s a rescue story,” he said. “We were able to help some animals in need … and that’s part of the zoo’s mission … saving wildlife.”

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 West 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak. For more information, visit www.detroitzoo.org


About Nichole Seguin

Journalist | Photographer | Mustache Enthusiast


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