Detroit Zoo takes in orphaned grizzly cub from Alaska, will grow up with polar bear cub

Laerke and Jebbie.JPG
Posted at 11:57 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 11:56:59-04

(WXYZ) — A grizzly bear cub from Alaska that was orphaned has found a home at the Detroit Zoo, officials said on Thursday.

The bear, named Jebbie by Tok, Alaska residents who saw him, was brought from Alaska to the zoo weighing 76 pounds. After a quarantine period and exam, Jebbie now weighs 180 pounds and has moved to the Arctic Ring of Life polar bear building.

Jebbie and the zoo's new polar bear cub, Laerke, have been getting to know each other and play with each other.

According to the zoo, Jebbie was found wandering alone near a neighborhood in June. He was moved to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage and then transferred to Detroit.

Laerke and another polar bear cub, Asta, were born in November 2020. Laerke appeared weak and stopped moving, and was brought in for emergency care.

“There are no other polar bear cubs who we can bring here to live with her, so we reached out to state agencies that frequently must find homes for orphaned grizzly bear cubs. We’re thrilled that we are able to give Jebbie sanctuary and provide a much-needed companion for Laerke,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS. “This social development is critically important for both Laerke and Jebbie.”

“Suka is a great mother and very protective of Laerke’s sister, Astra, but it’s clear that she no longer recognizes Laerke as her cub,” Carter added. “Returning Laerke to her mother and sister is not an option for us.”

Beginning Thursday, visitors can see Laerke and Jebbie grow up together in the Arctic Ring of Life.