Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Alaska Bear Story Number Four: Oreo and Ahpun

In the wild, most bear cubs arrive in multi-cub litters. Several years ago, the Anchorage Zoo happened to have an orphan polar bear cub that they named Ahpun and an orphan grizzly bear cub they named Oreo. Some genius suggested they put the two in the same enclosure and see if they could get along. For a while, they did. This inspired a deluge of politically-correct “ebony and ivory” claptrap that abruptly ceased when the bears achieved maturity and began getting territorial with each other. Ahpun and Oreo started getting into some serious fights. I would not have wanted to have been asked to separate those two.

No word on whether the two bears got couples’ counseling.

I have seen both bears myself. Ahpun lives in an expansive enclosure with greatly enhanced security measures to keep out uninvited guests. When I visited Oreo the grizzly bear, she seemed to be taking a nap. I noticed that when I called out her name repeatedly, she perked up her ears. That’s the closest I wanted to get to that critter.

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