We can bear-ly contain our excitement

FedEx and Brookfield Zoo team up to relocate orphaned bear cubs from Alaska

When two 10-month-old Alaskan coastal brown bears were orphaned in Anchorage, Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) was called in to assist. Officials safely recovered the bears and temporarily housed them at the Alaska Zoo while finding a permanent residence. Thankfully, Brookfield Zoo Chicago was happy to take the brother and sister cubs. FedEx transported the approximately 150-pound cubs along with their animal care specialists from Alaska to Chicago as part of the company’s FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative, in which FedEx lends its global network and unparalleled logistics expertise to organizations with precious cargo requests and helps communities before, during, and after crises.


Since their arrival, the bears have undergone physical examinations to make sure they’re healthy and thriving. From blood work to routine vaccinations, the Zoo’s veterinary staff performed all necessary checks on their new furry residents. The two have been named Tim and Jess and can be seen in their new outdoor habitat at the Zoo.

“We are happy to be able to provide the bear cubs a home, where they will receive the best possible care, although the situation is bittersweet,” said Mark Wanner, director of carnivore/small mammal care and conservation at Brookfield Zoo Chicago.

According to the Chicago Zoological Society, the species is found throughout most of Alaska. Brown bears, including Brookfield Zoo Chicago’s two cubs, have access to coastal food sources such as fish, while brown bears that live further inland typically do not eat marine prey and are called grizzlies. Brown bears are generally larger than grizzlies and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds!

The overall global brown bear population is around 200,000. Given the environment, approximately 30,000 brown bears can be found in Alaska, where they’re under threat of habitat loss due to development, mining, logging, and hunting. Organizations like ADF&G, Alaska Zoo, and Brookfield Zoo Chicago play an important role in helping many species like brown bears continue thriving, even as environments change.

Source: Chicago Zoological Society

Photo Credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo Chicago