Idaho zoo receives grizzly bear from Wyoming

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POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A young grizzly bear captured in Wyoming, where she became potentially dangerous after receiving food from humans, has arrived at a zoo in southeast Idaho.

The 2-year-old female weighing about 200 pounds arrived Thursday morning after being caught in a culvert trap Monday in Wyoming.

"We just got her," Pocatello Zoo Superintendent Peter Pruett told The Associated Press on Friday. "No name yet. We're just letting her get comfortable and get used to her surroundings."

The bear will remain in quarantine for 30 days to make sure she doesn't have parasites or disease, and then will be viewable to the public at the zoo's grizzly enclosure, Pruett said.

The new bear will be slowly introduced to Stripes, a 400-pound, 29-year-old female grizzly also at the zoo. Stripes has lived alone for about three years after the death of Charlie, who was also in his later 20s, which is about the life expectancy for bears in captivity, Pruett said.

"For the most part, bears are solitary," he said. "It's good though that she has a potential friend, or cohort."

The young bear appears a bit scared, but she is eating apples and other food supplied by zoo workers, Pruett said. "There's a little posturing, saying I'm still a pretty tough bear. But she's acclimating pretty quickly," he said.

Grizzlies that learn to associate food with people are typically euthanized, said Gregg Losinski of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and that's what would have happened with this bear if not for the zoo. "Luckier than the average bear," Losinski said.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department decided to capture the bear after she started halting horse trail rides by hanging out along the trail in the Shoshone National Forest east of Yellowstone National Park.

The Pocatello Zoo is an indigenous zoo, meaning it houses species native to the region. Many of its occupants are rehab animals or were causing problems in the wild.

Its grizzly enclosure is one of the best in the world, said Losinski, who has examined bear enclosures in other parts of the country as well as Europe and China. Grizzlies at the Pocatello Zoo have about a third of an acre that includes a 20,000-gallon pool with a waterfall.

"It creates a wild space where there really isn't one," Losinski said.

Visitors can get eye to eye with the bears in one area where all that separates them is a clear partition, Pruett said.

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