Two of three grizzly bear cubs rescued earlier this year on Kodiak Island after their mother was shot are now housed in a new exhibit recently unveiled at a Wisconsin zoo, with the third recently flown to an Ohio zoo.
Munsey and Boda's new enclosure at the Wildwood Zoo in Marshfield, Wisconsin, was shown to the public at a grand opening in late October. The new facility, funded by $1.1 million in donations, features a combined 5,800 square feet of space for the bears, with a 1,200-square-foot original exhibit connected by a 65-foot enclosed bridge to nearly an acre of "bear woods" for the animals to play in.
Alaska Dispatch News reader Susan Wendlandt posted a video of the cubs running, jumping and climbing trees in the exhibit, apparently enjoying the new space despite some heavy rain.
The bears were named in honor of hunting guide Mike Munsey and Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Nate Svoboda, who were instrumental in saving the cubs' lives.
The cubs were orphaned in May when their mother was shot by an unguided hunter, but quick action by the two men housed them at a local hunting cabin before they were taken to the Alaska Zoo and temporarily placed on public display for Alaskans.
On Friday the Alaska Zoo's executive director, Pat Lampi, said the third cub at the zoo left a week ago for a zoo in Ohio.
"He was looking pretty lonely when his two brothers left -- they're pretty social animals," Lampi said.
Two bear experts, including one from Ohio and a veterinarian from the Alaska Zoo, accompanied the bear on a FedEx flight to its new home. Lampi said he hadn't heard any word on the third bear's new name.
"It had two females waiting for it; they were orphans from Montana," Lampi said. "It's pretty cool that he has some young bears -- I think they'll get along great."
Although the Alaska Zoo has safely sent more than 60 black, brown and polar bear cubs to other zoos during Lampi's tenure, he said Munsey and Boda's youthful energy will be missed.
"We're sorry to see them go, because cubs are so playful for the first couple years," Lampi said. "They're just such a riot to watch."