Rescue success

wards of the state

The Seward Sisters/photo courtesy Connor Martin

Two grizzly bear cubs from Seward were resting at the Alaska Zoo today with preparations underway to move them to a new home in the Southeast Alaska community of Sitka.

Now dubbed “The Seward Sisters,” the young bears were nabbed by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Jeff Selinger late Monday afternoon after a short and spotless capture operation.

Seward residents have been after the state to rescue the cubs since their mom was killed raiding a chicken coop last month.

Based in Soldotna on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula, Selinger said he got a good report on the location of the bears Monday afternoon and made the hour-long drive to Seward on the east side of the Peninsula to see if he a capture was possible.

He found the bears quickly, he said, and in a good location for a darting operation. They were quickly tranquilized and loaded for delivery to the zoo in Alaska’s largest city, 120 miles to the north of Seward at the northern end of the Seward Highway.

They’ll be held there until they’re ready to move to the Fortress of the Bear in Sitka.

“They were in pretty darn good shape,” Selinger reported. “The little one was a little skinny but not emaciated.”

While sedated, both bears lost control of their bowels, which is normal and Selinger said it became obvious they’d been finding plenty of berries and vegetation on which to dine. Cubs of the year can usually do fine in the summer in Alaska, unless killed by another bear, but there was no hope of their making it into hibernation and through the winter without their mother.

Grizzly cubs usually spend two years with a sow before being shooed off.

Fortress of the Bear was celebrating the capture on its Facebook page today with many joining in to comment in the words of Manette Stanley on “a¬†happy ending to a heartbreaking journey.”


1 reply »

  1. While I think this is good news, I find it ironic that the anti-captivity, “let nature take its course” crowd are celebrating the captivity of two cubs.

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