In the News
Deseret News Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020
The orphaned bear cubs roam the two pens. They eat, stretch, play and rest. Sometimes, they climb up and down logs or explore the large wooden crates scattered throughout the sites. One recent morning, the bigger cub worked its way onto the top of one of the crates. The smaller cub quickly followed, crawling inside of the crate. After waiting a few minutes, the little cub poked its head out and extended a front paw to playfully swipe at the larger bear. “The little bear … it reminds me of a sibling, a little sister or brother that just kind of wants to follow and do everything the bigger one does,” said Julie Young, a wildlife biologist who works with the United States Department of Agriculture-National Wildlife Research Center and teaches at Utah State University. “I think a lot of that dominance is just purely based on size, of course — it’s a lot easier to be the one in charge when you’re twice the size of the other one. But they seem to be getting along well.” For these two bears, the pens, located on Utah State University property, have been home for a little over a week now. A third, midsized cub joined them Saturday morning. All recently orphaned, these three bears will spend the next couple of months in these pens being rehabilitated. While the pens are off limits to the public — Young said her staff is trying to keep the bears wild, meaning as little human contact as possible — USU has provided a webcam that allows people to check in on the bears’ development whenever they please. Just don’t get too attached: They’ll be released in the fall, right before denning season.