Video: Helping orphaned and injured animals adjust to captivity in Portage

When the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center takes in an orphaned or injured animal that can't be returned to the wild, animal behavior and training manager Chandelle Cotter goes to work.

She leads the center's animal care team in training the animal to live a comfortable life at the center. Cotter says she uses training methods that emphasize positive reinforcement, without exerting dominance or using punishment to change behavior. She says that results in animals that are less stressed.

"We want him to look at us as the source of all things good," Cotter said, referring to the the center's most recent arrival, a 7-month-old black bear cub named Kobuk.

After growing up in Port Alsworth, a village in Lake Clark National Park, Cotter pursued vocational training in Washington state, working with large cats and bears. She also gained several years of experience in giraffe care at facility in California before returning to Alaska.

In this video, watch Cotter work with several animals at the wildlife center and discuss her job.

[Read more: This black bear cub charmed his way into a home at the Portage wildlife center]

Marc Lester

Marc Lester is a multimedia journalist for Anchorage Daily News. Contact him at