Important to Know: To keep all the bears healthy and engaged, they are rotated in the two major exhibit spaces at Glacier Run on an unpredictable schedule. Similar rotation strategies are used successfully in the award-winning Islands and Gorilla Forest. Click here to learn more about how and why we use rotation.
Meet Our Grizzly Bears
In August of 2010 The Louisville Zoo once again assisted in animal rescue efforts when it brought a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs (one male and one female) to Louisville from Polson, Montana.
The animals had been identified and trapped as “nuisance bears” by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation and faced an uncertain future unless a home for them could be found in a zoo or other wildlife facility. As it happened the Louisville Zoo had been looking for a species of brown bear to inhabit Glacier Run in addition to polar bears.
Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak also saw this as a great opportunity for us to assist the dedicated personnel and agencies responsible for managing grizzlies in the wild who often have the difficult challenge of balancing conservation and interactions between bears and the public, agriculture and industry.
The grizzlies have adapted well to their new environment and built trust with their keepers. See the training demonstration schedule.
Inga, Otis and Rita share Glacier Run with the three polar bears – although they are never in the same space at the same time! To keep all the bears healthy and engaged, their schedules are intentionally unpredictable. This prevents them from anticipating events and potentially developing stereotypic behaviors.
Inga was born in the wild in February of 2005. She is the mother of one year-old twin cubs Otis and Rita. This grizzly family joined us from the remnant wild in Polson, Montana, where they were raiding chicken coups and had been trapped 3 times. Montana has a three strike law and this grizzly family had met their quota and would have been euthanized.
Those green things aren’t Inga’s earrings, they are ear tags that she acquired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after being caught raiding those chicken coups. Inga seems to enjoy frolicking in the 108,000 gallon pool in Glacier Run and keeping her twins in line, especially the rambunctious male cub Otis.
Otis was born in February 2010 in the remnant wild of Montana. He was raiding chicken coups with his mother and sibling.
Like Inga, he too seems to love frolicking in the Glacier exhibit pool and digging away in the mulch pit.
He is the more bold and curious of the cubs.
Rita was born in February 2010 in Montana.
She is the most cautious of the twins and seems to love swimming and wrestling with her brother.
(Photo by Kyle Shepherd)
Photos by Robert Kemnitz unless credited elsewhere.
Click here for great video of our grizzly bear family (and our polar bears too)!