Orphaned grizzly bear cub will grow up with polar bear cub at Detroit Zoo

NOW: Orphaned grizzly bear cub will grow up with polar bear cub at Detroit Zoo

DETROIT— The Detroit Zoo has shared photos and video of its new duo, an orphaned grizzly bear from Alaska and a polar bear cub.

In June, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) received reports that a grizzly bear cub was wandering alone near a neighborhood in Tok, Alaska.

The cub was taken to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage for immediate care before he was transferred to the Detroit Zoo.

Local residents who initially spotted the cub named him Jebbie.

Jebbie arrived in Detroit weighing just 76 pounds and now, he tips the scales at 180 pounds.

Jebbie was settled into the Arctic Ring of Life polar bear building where he got to know polar bear cub, Laerke, who was born at the zoo in November 2020.

Laerke became weak two days after birth and was brought to the animal health complex for around-the-clock care. She was unable to be returned to her habitat with her mother and sister.

Zoo officials said the polar bear cub's mother no longer recognizes Laerke as her cub.

“There are no other polar bear cubs who we can bring here to live with her [Laerke], so we reached out to state agencies that frequently must find homes for orphaned grizzly bear cubs. We’re thrilled that we are able to give Jebbie sanctuary and provide a much-needed companion for Laerke,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS, said in a press release. “This social development is critically important for both Laerke and Jebbie.”

Visitors were able to start seeing Laerke and Jebbie grow up together on September 23. The two cubs now wrestle, play with toys and spend their days together in the habitat's grassy tundra, freshwater pool, a "pack ice" area and a 190,000-gallon saltwater pool. 

Photo courtesy the Detroit Zoo

Photo courtesy the Detroit Zoo

Photo courtesy the Detroit Zoo

Photo courtesy the Detroit Zoo

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