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Orphaned Bear Cub Latest Addition to Zoo

Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield welcomed a new resident today- one which was totally unexpected. KSMU's Alvin Chen has details.

The 8-month-old bear cub was discovered last week in a flower bed outside a home near Mountain View, Missouri.

Gary Cravens is a regional supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation in West Plains.

But the mother bear never showed up. According to Cravens, the Department of Conservation saw how weak and malnourished the bear cub was, so it began contacting several zoos. Dickerson Park Zoo volunteered to take the male bear cub.

John Collette is the general curator at Dickerson Park Zoo. He says right now there's one other black bear in the zoo-a female.

Normally, conservation agents encourage wild animals to remain in the wild, but this was an unusual case, since the bear cub was so sick and alone. Cravens adds that it's unlikely this bear will go back to the wild again.

Black bears are still somewhat rare in Missouri, but conservation officials say numbers are increasing.

For KSMU News, I'm Alvin Chen.