Orphaned bear cub awaits name and new home
Pat Lampi knew what to do when Alaska Wildlife Troopers brought him an orphaned brown bear cub in May.
Before he could make the cuddly creature a main attraction in what would be only a temporary stay at The Alaska Zoo, he first had to check on the cub’s health.
As head of the zoo, Lampi has moved about 90 cubs from temporary housing in Anchorage to permanent homes at zoos and wildlife parks throughout North America during his 32-year tenure.
After a month in quarantine, the cub was deemed healthy, and Lampi’s team went to work to transfer him to a new home.
‘No-name’ bear cub
The cub — who won’t be named until he settles into his new home at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Washington state — is as gregarious as 10-pound baby bears come, Lampi told CNN Travel.
The cub’s mom had been shot and illegally killed by hunters who left her for dead and left her cub to fend for himself.
Three brown bears — Izzy, Jake and Oreo — already live at the zoo in Anchorage. (Izzy was also brought to the zoo as an orphan.)
While the newest cub is adorably small right now, his inevitable growth and adult size pose a problem for a zoo that was only supposed to have room for two bears to begin with. (They expanded years ago with a $12,000 den to make room for Izzy.)
The cub-without-a-name — sometimes tenderly referred to as Teddy by the zookeepers — is, unsurprisingly, a star attraction at the zoo since he went into the viewing area on May 31.
“Baby bears are just so darn cute and active and fun to watch,” says Lampi, noting that the baby bear acclimated to visitors quickly.
Loving the water
Whether gravitating toward a stick to play with using all four paws and his mouth or going toward the fence to check out the people who are on the other side checking him out, the cub is delighting onlookers.
Zoo deputy curator Thomas Smith, better known as Smitty, noted that the cub “loves the water.”
After the cub destroyed “a small, plastic, blue kiddie pool,” the zoo replaced it with a sturdier model, Smith told Anchorage CNN affiliate KTVA.
The cub’s steady diet of fruit, formula and chunks of bone-free salmon — that’s five squares a day — has him weighing in at around 35 pounds now.
In four or five years, when he’s considered a full-grown adult, he will weight anywhere from 800 to 1,000 pounds.
He’ll definitely be needing a den of his own.