ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – ZooMontana is now the temporary home to two orphaned grizzly bear cubs whose permanent home will be at the Saint Louis Zoo.
The sibling cubs, a 104-pound yearling female grizzly bear and a 123-pound yearling male, were captured near Ferndale in northwestern Montana in July when their mother was killed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service.
The mother of the cubs was known to have killed domestic chickens, ducks and rabbits. After repeated incidents of climbing up on porches and looking into windows and opening shed doors to gain access to livestock feed, the 226-pound, 7-year-old female bear was removed from the population.
For approximately a year, prior to completion of the new Grizzly Ridge habitat in St. Louis, ZooMontana will care for the cubs. When the habitat is completed in mid-2017, the bears will move to the Saint Louis Zoo.
In mid-July, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials signed a memorandum of understanding that determined both the temporary and final homes for the two wild grizzly bear cubs, now nine- to 10-months-old.
“Both agencies worked diligently with us to determine what was best for the cubs, and all of us at the Saint Louis Zoo are very happy to have been designated as the place where the two bears will live permanently,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Zoo.
Grizzly Ridge will be the result of a complete reconstruction of the Saint Louis Zoo’s historic 1920s-era bear grottos. When Grizzly Ridge opens, visitors will be able to watch grizzly bears through a floor-to-ceiling viewing area for the first time at the zoo. A gigantic glass wall will allow views of the bears catching their food or enjoying the habitat’s waterfalls, pools and rocky bluffs.
ZooMontana selected potential male names for one bear, while the Saint Louis Zoo chose female names for his sibling. Montanans are asked to vote for the name of the male bear, and St. Louisans for the female.
From now through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 6, you can vote for your favorite name!
The 5 male name choices from ZooMontana staff are:
Glacier — Glacier National Park
Huckleberry (Huck) — Huckleberry is a fruit used in many Montana-made products
Kootenai (pronounced KOOT-a-knee) – (Kootenai National Forest is a national forest located in the far northwestern section of Montana)
Rocky — Rocky Mountains
Roscoe — An iconic mountain town in Montana
The 5 female name choices from Saint Louis Zoo staff are:
Finley — A nod to Huckleberry Finn (also means “fair warrior”)
Helena — Mt. Helena in Montana
Skye — Montana is the Big Sky State
Ursula — A twist on bear taxonomy ursidae
Wynn — A mountain in Glacier National Park
Votes will be tallied and the winning names revealed Oct. 7.
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