When bears lose their fear of humans, they cannot be placed in the wild. Hunting and injuries from automobiles can result in early deaths in wild bears which often have lifespans of 8-10 years. In captivity, where their needs are met and they do not have to compete for food or territories, they can live from 25-35 years.
Peanut (22 yr old female) – Peanut was born at a zoo in Minnesota where she was hand raised and used in Educational Outreach as a young cub. She came to Ober in June of 2001 with her sister Minnie (who passed from cancer in 2022) and has enjoyed a long and healthy life. She is a sweetheart to our keepers but prefers to have time to herself instead of sharing her space with other bears.
BJ (17 yr old male) – BJ was born in the wild in Georgia in 2006. Sadly, his mother was shot by a hunter leaving BJ and his two brothers as orphans. Instead of immediately taking them to a wildlife rehabilitator, the cubs were kept as pets before finally being confiscated and transferred to a facility dedicated to rehabilitating bear cubs. After over a year at the facility, state agencies decided that they would never be able to be returned to the wild. The only choices were for euthanasia or placement with a licensed facility. Fortunately, we were able to provide BJ with a forever home and his two brothers were placed with Zoo New England.
Holly & Chief – These siblings enjoy climbing, swimming and digging in their enclosure. Holly & Chief will enjoy long and healthy lives here and help to serve as ambassadors to educate our guests about wild black bears.