Calgary Zoo names Yukon bear cubs

Two orphaned Yukon black bear cubs that were moved to Calgary last year are out of hibernation and ready for their first public close-ups.

Two orphaned Yukon black bear cubs that were moved to Calgary last year are out of hibernation and ready for their first public close-ups.

The siblings also now have names. Teslin, the female, was named after Teslin Lake and Orson, the male, had his name inspired by translations of “bear” in the Romance languages.

The Yukon bears, who are now about a year old, joined three-year-old Manuka, the zoo’s white-furred black bear.

Zoo spokesperson Trish Exton-Parder said the group is getting along well.

“Bears, especially when they are young, love that social interaction,” she said.

The Yukon cubs arrived at the zoo late last August, but between medical tests and getting used to their new home, it was soon time to hibernate.

Mother’s Day weekend was their first big public event.

“The three of them are really doing well and we had unbelievable crowds this weekend,” said Exton-Parder, who credited a lot of that to the new bears.

Right now Orson is more “brave, and full of fun,” while Teslin – the smaller of the bears – “is a little more shy,” she said.

The two young bears were orphaned in July 2014 after their mother started causing trouble in the Copper Ridge area.

The sow had begun eating out of garbage cans, and returned to residential neighbourhoods even after officials tried to relocate the family.

Once the bear developed that habit, conservation officers say they had no choice but to kill her.

The cubs were cared for at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve until their new home was found.

“These young bears are showing great social interaction,” curator Mike Teller said in a statement. “They romp and play together and have certainly adjusted to their unique personalities. It is truly a happy ending for all.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

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