The playful antics of a pair of Kodiak brown bears are one more reason to visit Innisfail’s Discovery Wildlife Park.
The male cub Bos, and the female cub Piper, who came from two different sets of parents, arrived March 23 from a facility in the United States that was forced to shut down.
“At the end of the day we don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t save them. They very likely could have been euthanized,” said Discovery zookeeper Serena Bos, who maintains contact with bear owners in the U.S and Canada and found out about the cubs.
“It was a lot of paperwork, and a lot of staying on hold for endless hours, and meetings. Thankfully we were able to bring them up.”
She said the four-month old cubs have already developed unique personalities, which explains how Piper got her name.
“She’s got a set of pipes on her. She’s the most vocal bear I have ever met in my life. She has something to say about everything, even geese flying overhead. She has to yell at those.
“Bos is cool as a cucumber. He is very, very chill, and he’s very affectionate.”
Mostly the cubs’ routine consists of eating, sleeping, and a lot of playtime, but since the park opened May 1, they have been taking part in daily bear safety presentation.
“They are already getting to be amazing little ambassador bears, making a difference for those wild bears.”
She said with so many more people than usual taking staycations in bear country, it’s important that they be bear aware for the safety of both humans and bears.
She said Bos and Piper are also making frequent video appearances for the park, which really cheer people up.
“If it can put a smile on somebody’s face, and bring joy, I don’t think there’s anything more important that those two cubs can do, other than educating people about bear safety. Being able to share that with other people is just a huge blessing.”
They are also taking part in a vocalization study conducted in collaboration with Red Deer College staff. The study began in 2017 when Berkley the Kodiak bear was a cub, to learn more about the cooing sound made by happy, content cubs.
“There is very, very little data about it.”