TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) The Topeka Zoo is celebrating Independence Day with one new member. An American Black Bear cub named Independence, “Indie” for short, was introduced Thursday morning.
Indie’s story starts on the outskirts of Myrtle Creek, Oregon. That’s where on May 22, 2014, a young boy heard whimpering coming from the bushes outside his home. There he found a tiny bear cub, weighing six pounds, whose mother was nowhere in sight. The boy and his parents took the bear cub to the Myrtle Creek Police station while the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began searching for the young cub’s mother. When that search turned up empty, the orphaned cub was transferred to Oregon State University for veterinary care until caretakers could find the cub a permanent home.
Indie was very malnourished when she arrived at Oregon State, as officials estimate she was born in late-January. Partly due to her fondness for applesauce, the her appetite has grown quickly.
On May 29th, the young cub found her forever home at the Topeka Zoo. Since her arrival, Indie has gained eight pounds.
“She is doing great and is gaining weight,” Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said. “As tiny as she is, it is going to take some time for her to grow into the large bear exhibit.”
While she keeps growing, Indie will reside in an off-exhibit reserve area at the Zoo’s Hill’s Black Bear Woods exhibit. Visitors can watch her grow and play via a live video feed on a TV at the Ranger Station at the exhibit.
“We hope that in the next few weeks, Indie will be able to go into the big exhibit for short periods of supervised play,” Wiley said. “When that begins to happen, we will let the community know.”