Thanks to the Detroit Zoo, an unlikely (and super adorable) friendship has been formed.
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In November 2020, a polar bear named Suka gave birth to several little ones, including Laerke. Laerke and her siblings were the first polar bears successfully born and raised there since 2004, making this a monumental step forward.
Days after her birth, Laerke became significantly inactive and appeared increasingly weak. She was sent off to the zoo’s health complex for treatment, but by the time she returned home, her mom no longer recognized Laerke as her cub.
Without having any other polar bear cubs who would accept her, she would have to go without a companion… or so they thought. Luckily, that’s right when Jebbie needed a new home!
Jebbie the grizzly bear was wandering all by himself in Tok, Alaska, when he was rescued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. After his rescuers took a closer look at him, the cub was transferred over to the Detroit Zoo.
“After a quarantine period and an exam by Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) veterinarians, Jebbie moved to the Arctic Ring of Life polar bear building, where he and the Detroit Zoo’s hand-reared polar bear cub, Laerke, have been gradually getting to know each other,” the zoo wrote in a press release.
In an instant, these two lonely cubs became the best of friends! The zookeepers have since posted pictures and videos of them playing in their exhibit, showing just how cute they are.
Together, they’re able to wrestle in the grassy tundra, splash around in the freshwater or saltwater pools, and play with toys to their hearts’ content.
“We’re thrilled that we are able to give Jebbie sanctuary and provide a much-needed companion for Laerke,” said Scott Carter, the chief life sciences officer for the DZS. “This social development is critically important for both Laerke and Jebbie.”
We’re so happy these two have each other to grow up with! If you’d like to see the cubs in action, you can visit their exhibit at the Detroit Zoo.
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