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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo doubled its grizzly bear cubs with the addition of two more orphaned young bears from the western United States. Cheyenne and Jackson, a brother and sister pair from Wyoming, joined Montana brothers Cody and Cooper on exhibit in the Zoo’s Northern Trek last week.

After a few days of defensive posturing and bluff charging, all four cubs are getting along well and have been seen wrestling and playing with one another. Animal care staff thought  it might take several weeks of familiarization before the two new cubs could be out on exhibit with Cody and Cooper, but the bears’ behaviors told them otherwise.

The bears were given visual access to one another in their night holding building through what keepers call the “howdy door” which can be opened or closed depending on the reactions of the animals, but keeps them from being able to touch. There was a normal amount of investigating and some nervousness, but keepers didn’t observe a great deal of aggression. The decision was made soon after to let them out into the exhibit together. All of the bears are estimated to be 7 months old and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds.




Photo Credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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.