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Grizzly Bear Cubs Make Debut at Cleveland Zoo

(Image credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo)

Two orphaned grizzly bear cubs make their public debut today at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The little bear brothers traveled to Cleveland from Montana, where they were being cared for in a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

A man looking for shed antlers in the Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Management Area near Helena, Montana startled the cubs' mother. The man shot the mother grizzly in self-defense and the cubs were taken in by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The cubs, estimated to be about 4 months old, came to the Zoo on June 2 weighing about 20 pounds each. Currently they weigh about 40 pounds each. When fully grown, an adult male grizzly can weigh up to 900 pounds.

After a routine stay in quarantine, the grizzly cubs are now ready to begin exploring their Northern Trek exhibit, which has been specially prepped for young bears.

The Zoo wants the public to help determine the cubs' new names. Visit clemetzoo.com and help us Dub the Cubs by voting in the online poll. Results will be announced on August 1.

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), a subspecies of brown bear, were once widespread throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their range has shrunk toward the northwest with most now occurring in Alaska and western Canada, although their numbers are on the rise in some areas of the contiguous U.S., especially in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Grizzlies in the wild have an average lifespan of 20-30 years, and typically live a few years longer in captivity. They are solitary animals in the wild, unless a mother is caring for cubs, in which case the cubs will stay with the mother for up to three years.

Grizzly bears have been part of the animal collection at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for many years, and the Zoo was saddened by the loss of its father and son pair of grizzlies during the last 12 months. With the new cubs, the Zoo currently cares for six of the eight bear species in the world including Andean (formerly known as "spectacled"), Malayan sun, North American black, polar and sloth.

To learn more, visit clemetzoo.com or call (216) 661-6500.

Live Science Staff
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