Saint Louis Zoo Welcomes Orphan Grizzly Bears

Two orphaned grizzly bears call the new Centene Grizzly Ridge home. Until their arrival, ZooMontana will care for the bears. 

The Cubs' Story

The sibling cubs, a 104-pound yearling female grizzly bear and a 123-pound yearling male, were captured near Ferndale in northwestern Montana July 15, 2016 when their mother was removed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service. 

In mid-July, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials signed a memorandum of understanding that determined both the temporary and final homes for the two wild grizzly bear cubs, now 9-10 months old. 

For the past two years, the mother of the cubs was known to have killed domestic chickens, ducks and rabbits. After repeated incidents of climbing up on porches and looking into windows and opening shed doors to gain access to livestock feed, the 226-pound, 7-year-old female bear was removed from the population.  

The cubs arrived at ZooMontana in mid-August and spent 30 days in quarantine, a period designed to prevent the introduction of transmissible diseases to zoological collections and to provide acclimation. 

The Results Are In...

Nearly 13,700 voted, and the wild grizzly bears cubs that are slated to come to the Zoo in 2017 now have names!  Huckleberry (Huck!) is the male bear choice with 2,205 votes. The female will be named Finley after receiving 3,517 votes. 

The five male name choices from ZooMontana staff were:

  • Glacier - Glacier National Park —420 votes
  • Huckleberry or "Huck"  - fruit used in many Montana-made products 2,205 votes
  • Kootenai  - Kootenai National Forest located in Montana 317 votes
  • Rocky - Rocky Mountains 715 votes
  • Roscoe - An iconic mountain town in Montana 900 votes

The five female name choices from Saint Louis Zoo staff were:

  • Finley - A nod to Huckleberry Finn  (also means "fair warrior") —3,517 votes
  • Helena - Mt. Helena in Montana —1,106 votes
  • Skye - Montana is the Big Sky State —2,946 votes
  • Ursula - A twist on bear taxonomy ursidae —835 votes
  • Wynn - A mountain in Glacier National Park —736 votes