A wild polar bear cub was captured and moved to Alaska Zoo in a rare decision that officials said was the best course of action.
Wildlife officials saw the cub roaming around the Prudhoe Bay area of Alaska alone and witnessed how comfortable the bear was around humans.
According to a press release from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the decision to move the cub to a zoo was made by polar bear program biologists and an Alaska Zoo veterinarian who feared for the welfare of the cub.
The male cub was orphaned and estimated to be around 11 months old and a little underweight.
The cub raised concerns particularly because of the potential for human-bear conflicts, as he was very comfortable around them.
The zoo said that the cub will not be on public display until he is in full health and they deem it appropriate.
“The decision to remove this bear from the wild was not made lightly,” David Gustine of the polar bear program that reviewed the cub’s situation said.
“Removing a bear is not a good outcome for the individual or the wild population, but we felt it was the best course of action in this situation.”
An orphaned polar bear cub was brought to the Alaska Zoo for his welfare by USFWS polar bear team biologists. Just a reminder that he is not yet in public view on zoo grounds. We will provided photos, videos & updates as we progress.https://t.co/Rnv7tA3cZK
📹T. Goodwin @FWSNEWS pic.twitter.com/bNdUEOmR72
— The Alaska Zoo (@AlaskaZoo) December 22, 2022
After the cub’s quarantine is complete, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reportedly decide on the animal’s long-term care plan.
Unfortunately, they say that the bear will not be returned to the wild. Cubs usually stay with their mothers for up to 2.5 years.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 5 January 2023.
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