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Want to see a grizzly bear cub? Two are about to make their home near Eatonville

Alaska Zoo

Two grizzly bears are moving into the Eatonville area.

For the first time in its 43-year-history, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is adopting two grizzly cubs that were orphaned in the wild.

A 6-month-old cub from Alaska was coming this week and a yearling from Montana was to come within the next few weeks.

The public will be asked to help name the cubs, which will grow to be 6 to 11 feet tall.

“They are powerful, magnificent animals, and their presence at Northwest Trek will help tell the story of their species, which is endangered in Washington,” Metro Parks Commissioner Erik Hanberg said.

Fewer than 10 grizzlies are believed to live in Washington state’s North Cascades.

Northwest Trek is nearly done reconstructing its one-acre grizzly bear habitat, which was partially paid for by a $198 million Metro Parks bond issue from 2014.

The Alaska cub has been living at the Anchorage zoo since a hunter killed its mother in May. He was only 10 pounds — half of what he should have weighed — when he was discovered next to his mother’s body.

Zoo keepers hand-fed him Rainier cherries, apples, fish, produce and dog food, and now he’s a healthy 75 pounds.

“He has no trouble playing by himself,” said Shannon Jensen, curator at the Alaska zoo. “He finds whatever toys we give him entertaining, even if it’s just a stick. He thinks a stick is great fun.”

The Montana cub was found on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation after a farmer killed his mother because she attacked the farmer’s pigs.

He has been staying at Montana Wild since late June.

Once both grizzlies arrive at Northwest Trek, keepers will introduce them to each other with a see-through separation between their dens.

Because the cubs are so young, officials said the two are expected to take to each other like adopted brothers and eventually share the same space.

It’s unclear when the public will be able to see the cubs.

The park got its first grizzly bears, Hudson and Denali, in 1993. Both died in recent years.

Stacia Glenn; 253-597-8653
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