In a case of who saved who, Buttonwood Park Zoo has decided to adopt two black bear cub orphans. The babies lost their parents during a conflict between humans and the bears in their home in Alaska.

"Providing a home to orphaned, non-releasable wildlife is paramount to our mission," Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Gary Lunsford said. "Given that the BPZOO has been caring for black bears since our inception in 1894, we jumped at the opportunity to work with officials in Alaska to provide a forever home to these cubs in need."

The timing couldn't have been better, as there has been a major void at the zoo since it lost its last black bear a year ago. Toby, the last of the zoo's black bears, passed away at the age of 23.  He had lived a long life in the New Bedford zoo since he was relocated there along with two other female black bears in 2000.

Not having a black bear at the zoo, however, has been odd. The zoo has always had a rich history of caring for black bears. Officials there knew they needed to find some, and jumped on the opportunity when it presented itself.

What Will the Bears Be Named?

Buttonwood Park Zoo says after spending time getting to know their personalities, zookeepers and veterinarian staff carefully considered names for the cubs. With a nod to their Alaskan homeland, the male cub has been named Moose, the official state land mammal, and the female Oona, named after an inland lake not far from Juneau.

It looks like the SouthCoast community has found our bear friends for the next couple of decades. The question once again is did the zoo rescue the baby bears?  Or did the baby bears rescue the zoo?

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