Orphaned Grizzly Bear Moves to Detroit Zoo and Becomes Best Friends with Polar Bear Cub
A grizzly bear and polar bear have formed a sweet and unexpected friendship.
An orphaned grizzly bear cub, Jebbie, recently found his new home at the Detroit Zoo after he was found wandering alone in Tok, Alaska, by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).
After a thorough health assessment, Jebbie was transferred to the Detroit Zoo, where he met an unlikely friend, Laerke — a polar bear cub born at the facility last year.
"After a quarantine period and an exam by Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) veterinarians, Jebbie moved to the Arctic Ring of Life polar bear building, where he and the Detroit Zoo's hand-reared polar bear cub, Laerke, have been gradually getting to know each other. Now, the two young bears wrestle, play with toys, and spend their days together," the zoo stated in a release.
According to the zoo, the Arctic Ring of Life, the zoo exhibit where both bears now live together, is one of the world's largest zoo polar bear habitats — boasting a grassy tundra, freshwater pool, "pack ice" area, and large saltwater pool.
"We're thrilled that we are able to give Jebbie sanctuary and provide a much-needed companion for Laerke," Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS, said in a statement. "This social development is critically important for both Laerke and Jebbie."
Suka, an 8-year-old polar bear, gave birth to Laerke and another polar bear cub at the Michigan zoo in November 2020 after mating with 16-year-old Nuka. Laerke and their sibling were the first polar bears born and successfully raised at the facility since 2004, according to a press release from the zoo.
Days after Laerke's birth, zoo staff noticed that she was becoming "inactive" and appeared to be weak before moving her to the Detroit Zoo's Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex for treatment.
However, according to Carter, Laerke couldn't reunite with her mother after her health improved because the adult bear no longer recognized Laerke as her cub. He said because "there are no other polar bear cubs who we can bring here," the zoo is thrilled Jebbie has joined the facility to give Laerke a companion.
Guests of the Detroit Zoo can visit Jebbie and Laerke now at the duo's exhibit, where the cubs will grow up together.
This story originally appeared on people.com