Friendship
Polar bear’s all alone at zoo until she’s introduced to orphaned grizzly bear cub
Now Laerke and Jebbie are best friends.
D.G. Sciortino
11.15.21

Jebbie was found wandering an Alaskan neighborhood alone in June.

When the Alaska Department of Fish and Game investigated the sighting of the orphaned grizzly bear cub, they realized he was too young to be away from his mother.

They were able to capture the cub and transfer it to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.

Detroit Zoo - Facebook
Source:
Detroit Zoo - Facebook

Jebbie was given a medical examination and prepared for his transport to the Detroit Zoo.

The cub was examined by the Detroit Zoological Society’s veterinarian who found Jebbie to weigh just 76 pounds.

Little did Jebbie know that he would help save the life of a baby polar bear.

Detroit Zoo - Facebook
Source:
Detroit Zoo - Facebook

Jebbie and Laerke, a polar bear cub, ended up becoming friends after Jebbie was moved to the Arctic Ring of Life polar bear building.

The Arctic Ring of Life is one of the largest polar bear zoo habitats in the world.

It includes a grassy tundra for the bears, a “pack ice” area, and a 190,000-gallon saltwater pool.

Detroit Zoo - Facebook
Source:
Detroit Zoo - Facebook

The Arctic Ring of Life spans more than 4 acres of outdoor and indoor space and is known as one of the finest zoo habitats in America, according to the zoo’s website.

Detroit Zoo - Facebook
Source:
Detroit Zoo - Facebook

Laerke and Astra were born at the Detroit Zoo in November 2020.

But two days after being brought into the world, Laerke grew lethargic and weak.

She had to be taken to the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex for 24-7 care. Unfortunately, the polar bear cub’s mother wouldn’t recognize her when she returned to her mother and sister. So, the polar bear was left alone.

“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,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS, said in a press release. “Returning Laerke to her mother and sister is not an option for us.”

According to Polar Bears International, polar bear cubs typically don’t leave their mothers until they are at least 2.5 to 3-years-old. During this time, they are taught to hunt, feed, swim, and survive.

“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,” Carter said. “This social development is critically important for both Laerke and Jebbie.”

Now Jebbie and Laerke are best friends and can be found wrestling, playing with toys, and just spending their time together.

“This is fantastic! It will be great to follow along and watch these two cubs bond and grow Please post more videos of this new friendship!!” wrote one commenter on Facebook.

“What a beautiful connection. So happy for these cuties to have each other. Thank you for making it happen!” said another.

Watch these two cuties play together in the video below.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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