A brown bear cub orphaned when biologists shot its mother two weeks ago after two maulings in an Anchorage park has been captured and reunited with its sibling at the Alaska Zoo.
A couple in the Stuckagain Heights neighborhood, which borders Chugach State Park on the eastern side of Anchorage, caught the bear Sunday night.
After watching the cub munch on berries in their backyard for several hours, they lured it into a dog run and slammed the door shut, said state Fish and Game biologist Rick Sinnott.
Alaska Zoo director Pat Lampi said the bear, which is now named Rosie, is healthy. Its brother, Rover, who was captured the day after their mother was killed, seemed to be glad to reunite, he said.
"They are two peas in a pod now. They are laying out there all cuddled up together," Lampi said, in a phone interview from the zoo.
He added that the female is slightly more aggressive than the male. "She does charge if you get too close to her, or if you surprise her," he said.
"She seems quite the bossy, bigger sister to me."
The cub was given little chance of survival if not caught. Because it is only about 8 months old, it faced starvation or getting attacked by another bear, Sinnott said.
The Stuckagain Heights couple did not want to be identified. They told Sinnott that they lured the 88-pound bear into the dog run with cooked salmon.
Residents of the neighborhood of mostly large, newly-built, stately homes, had been feeding the cub for weeks, Sinnott said. They tossed it fruit, fed it dog food. The bear had gotten into at least one home's garbage, as evidenced by tiny tooth marks, Sinnott said.
The bear had also likely been surviving off berries, he said.
Fish and Game had been receiving regular phone calls about sightings of the cub, sometimes as many as six a day from the neighborhood. But still the bear managed to elude biologists.
Biologists shot the cubs' mother on Aug. 19 because it was suspected in two maulings. Anchorage resident Clivia Feliz was attacked in Far North Bicentennial Park on Aug. 8 on the Rover's Run trail. Six weeks before, a bear badly injured 15-year-old bicyclist Petra Davis on the same trail.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife is testing DNA from bear hairs found on Feliz and Davis and comparing those to the dead sow. Results from Davis concluded the dead bear was not the same that attacked her. Biologists are still awaiting the results for Feliz.
The cub has likely stayed over the past couple of weeks in the same Stuckagain Heights area near where its mother was shot, Sinnott said. It may have returned to Rover's Run, however. Sinnott saw tiny bear claw prints on the trail without any larger bear claw prints around.
"It had been following the traditional route of its mother," Sinnott said.
Lampi said the bears will likely stay together and be sent to a Midwest zoo.
Find Megan Holland online at adn.com/contact/mholland or call 257-4343.