Bear cubs from Bearizona make 3TV debut

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 12:07 PM

PHOENIX -- Work nearly ground to a halt in the 3TV newsroom when two very special guests arrived for their "Good Morning! Arizona" debut Wednesday -- Kalani and Kenai, two of Bearizona's five black bear cubs.

The twin girls are just over two months old. Another mother bear gave birth to triplet boys. (Bearizona spokeswoman Jocelyn Monteverde, who accompanied Kalani and Kenai on their apparently exhausting journey, said the boys are a bit rowdier than the girls.)

Kalani and Kenai, who managed to charm the entire newsroom without even trying, and their three cousins are being cared for in a special area in the gift shop. They'll be there until May, when they're big enough to move into their own enclosure in the walk-through part of the park.

That care includes bottle feeding and "pottying." Baby bears need a little encouragement, which would normally come from mom, do to their business.

Weighing in at a whopping 5 pounds now, the cubs will be about 80 to 100 pounds by the time they are a year old, and in the 400-pound range by the time they are full grown. The boys could be up to 600 pounds.

The little ones are just getting their legs under them and haven't quite mastered the whole walking thing yet, but Monteverde says they'll soon be scampering about, climbing and playing.

Until then, the public can see the cubs in their special care area, where lead keeper Amber Hale and her team will work to keep the cubs healthy and ensure that they grow up to be big bears.

"Despite high birthrates, only four out of 10 cubs will reach their first year of life," Bearizona spokeswoman Jocelyn Monteverde explained in the cubs' birth announcement. "The 60 percent of cub mortality is a result of starvation and depredation by male bears or other large carnivores."

That's why the cubs are being raised by hand. While the bears will never be tame, no matter how cuddly they are now, a relationship with humans will help keepers care for them as they get bigger.

Bearizona, 150-acre park designed to give people a unique up-close look at black bears doing what they do best, is 30 minutes west of Flagstaff and only two hours northwest of Phoenix. It opened in May 2010, and welcomed its very first bear cub, Doc, on Feb. 28, 2011.

It has since added a variety of other animals just as mesmerizing as the bears.

For more information, call 928-635-2289 or check out Bearizona.com.

Photos: 5 new bear cubs born at Bearizona

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