How did these bears come to live at the Orphaned Wildlife Center?
There are many different stories for how the bears came to live at the Orphaned Wildlife Sanctuary.
The story of Frankie, a wild black bear that was hit by car can be found here.
Jimbo originally came from an animal park out west and he had an injury to his back leg. The injury was a permanent one and he still gets stiff in that hind leg when it's cold out.
Jimbo was born in captivity at the animal park and was never a "wild bear". That park has since closed. Since he was born in captivity to a mother also born in captivity he would have no skills taught to him to survive in the wild. (Plus his leg injury would have made it even worse for him. ) Jimbo lives with Leo and is closest friends with him. Rosie came from that same place, but at a different time.
Eight of the bears are Syrian brown bears. All of the Syrian brown bears came to us from a breeding program that was in place to try to save the species. The Syrian bears are very endangered and the hope was to start a breeding program to save them. When that fell through, some of those bears came to us. All of the Syrian brown bears we have here were from that former breeding program. Because they originate in the Middle East, they couldn’t be released here; you can not introduce bears into the wild that are not native.
We do handle and create relationships with animals that have to be here permanently, but we limit all contact with animals that are to be released back into the wild (for more on that visit our FAQ's). Each of our resident bears have very distinct personalities and likes and dislikes. Many people ask what they eat and that can be difficult to answer because we have many specieis of bear here and each specific bear has likes and dislikes as to food they will eat.
They don’t like most vegetables. They mainly prefer carrots, most types of lettuce, tomatoes, and celery. Some of the bears also like spinach and kale. They all love cilantro. They also like most fruits most especially pineapple, grapes and berries. They CAN NOT eat bananas, as bananas make them violently ill. Most of the bears will eat eggs and of course most everyone loves honey. They all truly love fresh grass (not hay that is for sleeping on). They like ocean fish. They will not eat bucks when it is the deer mating season, but they will eat them if it’s not the mating season. We used to have the highway department bring us any deer that were killed in road accidents, but after one episode where the bears got sick from it, we stopped accepting them. They all love to chew on bones. For a special treat they love ice pops, coffee and tea. Everything must be fresh - they won’t eat anything old, nasty or unfresh. They will rub their heads in it and just push it aside.
Some specifics for each bear:
Leo loves meat and watermelon - all melons, and oranges. He doesn’t really hate anything.
Randy is a big eater. He always has room for a little more. He loves meat and eggs but is the only bear that actually hates honey.
Rosie is a big meat eater and loves ALL food. There is nothing she doesn’t like. She also drinks more than anyone. She loves to try to steal from Kimmy.
Kimmy loves lettuce, apples, meat, anything sweet. She is another good eater.
Frank loves apples, peanuts, berries, Blueberry pie, sunflower seeds (he taught the girls to eat sun flower seeds - they wouldn’t eat them before he came. His mother probably taught him to raid bird feeders). He loves honey. He doesn’t eat red meat, but he will eat cooked chicken if it’s not winter.
Amy loves meat first, and then peaches are her favorite food. She loves chewing on bones and doesn’t really hate anything. She was always lean in her younger days but now that she is getting older all food is delicious and she has put on a few pounds.
Jenny loves Taste of the Wild salmon dog food and loves peanuts. She will eat cooked chicken. If Susan gives her chicken she will roll her head in it for five minutes but then eat it. No red meat. She will not touch it. She would kill someone for a chicken strip dog treat. (on our Amazon wishlist if you are feeling kind to Jenny!)
Sonya likes everything. She has a hard time pushing herself away from the table. Her favorites are meat, grapes, pears, and sweets.