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Day Trips

The Austin Zoo has some new residents

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., July 11, 2014

Day Trips
photo by Gerald McLeod
Day Trips
photo by Gerald McLeod

The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary has three new stars in its orbit. Three American black bear cubs are tussling in their swimming pool, romping on the playscape, and chasing each other up the fence of their new enclosure.

Day Trips
photo by Gerald McLeod

The abandoned cubs were discovered by loggers in the Oregon forest in early February. Technicians at an area zoo rescued the cubs before their eyes were open. With bottle-feeding, they have grown to more than 50 pounds.

Day Trips
photo by Gerald McLeod

"We had less than two weeks to prepare for their arrival," says Patti Clark, executive director of the zoo.

When the cubs were ready to travel, Ellen Proctor, the head zookeeper, took them on the long car ride to their new home. The trio weighed about two pounds each and had to be bottle-fed every four hours. "It's been quite a process," she says.

The zoo will slowly acclimate the cubs to their public surroundings daily from 10-11am. At six months old, the trio is as rambunctious as 6-year-old children. Korben, the male, is larger and likes to throw his weight around on his sisters. Tilly is more demure and levelheaded, Ellen says, but doesn't take much guff from her brother. Ruby, the one with white fur on her chest, was the runt of the litter and is shy.

The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary is south of Austin off U.S. 290. For information, call 512/288-1490 or go to www.austinzoo.org.

1,197th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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