Audubon Zoo’s lone black bear cub will get new playmates from Alaska

“Ant” and “Spider” will join “Sassafras” in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 4:00 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2022 at 7:58 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On a frosty morning in Anchorage, Alaska, zoo curators have lured two female black bear cubs, “Ant” and “Spider,” from their den.

“We can do anything with bears if they have honey,” joked curator Sam Lavin with the Alaska Zoo.

While a dusting of snow covers the ground this week in Anchorage, the bears are about to have a change of scenery.

Curators from the Audubon Zoo are in Alaska to take the cubs to their new home in New Orleans.

“I think they’re going to do really great in New Orleans,” said Audubon curator Liz Wilson.

Here, they will join “Sassafras,” a Louisiana black bear cub.

All of the roughly eight-month-old cubs were apparently orphaned in the wild earlier this year when wildlife agents in Alaska and Louisiana found no signs of a mother.

Curators say the bears would have had no chance of surviving on their own in the wild.

Young bears also do better when they have companions, according to experts.

“(Sassafras) is looking to play and rough house,” Wilson said. “So, we are definitely seeing those signs that she needs companionship with other bears.”

Bob Lessnau, Audubon General Curator, said the bears will eventually become ambassadors for their species.

“We don’t necessarily breed black bears in captivity because there are enough orphans that need homes and sanctuaries,” Lessnau said. “So, that’s all we’re going to do here is provide them a home and a sanctuary.”

Curators are confident the three female cubs will get along just fine once the Alaskan pair adjust to the new surroundings.

They should be on display later this month, according to a zoo spokesperson.

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