Bear Awareness Week: Meet our Grizzly Bears
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Bear Awareness Week: Meet our Grizzly Bears

The Memphis Zoo currently has five grizzly bears that call Teton Trek home.  They are separated in two groups, which alternate on exhibit every other day.     

The younger group of three is made up of two brothers and a sister that came to the zoo as orphans from Yellowstone in Montana.  They are currently five years old.  “Yukon” is the darkest of the three and currently the largest weighing in at a little over 500 pounds.  He was named after the Yukon River.  He loves to play with his brother and is pretty proficient at catching live fish when his keepers put some in his exhibit pool.     


“Cochise” is Yukon’s brother and currently weighs in at less than 500 pounds.  His name means “big brother” and fits him to a T.  When the three bears were younger, Cochise always acted as the protector and would stand in front of his brother and sister if danger seemed to be near.  He is a very laid back bear who loves to eat and play with his brother.     


“Else” is the only female of our bears from Montana and also the smallest weighing in at about 350 pounds.  She was named after a prominent bear advocate, expert, and former zoo keeper, Else Poulsen, who has done many studies on bears and written books on bear behavior.  Though she is smaller than her two brothers, she holds her own fairly well, often being the instigator in play fighting between the three.  Else is a painting grizzly bear that uses her front paws to put prints on canvas.  One of her paintings has even been given as a gift to her namesake Else Poulsen.  Else loves to dig and is very efficient at creating day beds throughout her exhibit at Teton Trek.   


The other two grizzly bears that call Memphis home are an unrelated male and female who hail from Alaska and are six years old.  “Hydee” is the smaller of the two and currently weighs in about 550 pounds.  She is named after the town in Alaska where she was found orphaned.  When our keepers picked her up at the Alaska zoo, they were told that she had proven to be an excellent den digger.  She has proven that here in Memphis as well by digging some substantial day beds in her sand pit and along the exhibit wall.  Hydee is a very smart bear that knows over 50 trained behaviors.  One of those behaviors is a paint behavior.  As with Else, Hydee uses her front paws to put prints on canvass.  You can find her paintings for sale at various Zoo and AAZK events.     

“Peak” is the male Alaskan grizzly bear and is the largest of the five, currently weighing in at 700 pounds.  He is named after the Peak Oilfield Service Company which was located very near where he was found orphaned.  He is a really fun-loving bear that can be amused for hours by just about anything.  His favorite pastime is playing with his back paws while laying belly up in his river.  His favorite enrichment item is shed Elk fur that his keepers give him from time to time.  He loves to roll around on it.  He is also very fond of anything with a pine scent, such as timed air fresheners that his keepers may use for enrichment as well.  


 -- Jen Conrad, zookeeper  

Posted by Zoo Info at 10:44 AM