Bear cubs get loose at Houston Zoo

Willow and Belle, orphaned bear cubs who've recently moved to the Houston Zoo, got out of their habitat for a couple of hours
December 19, 2013 4:16:43 PM PST
A couple of newcomers to the Houston Zoo took a walk on the wild side Thursday afternoon.

Two orphaned black bear cubs, Willow and Belle, came to the Houston Zoo about a month ago from California Fish and Game. Their mother had been killed by a hunter.

Zoo officials say the pair have been adjusting well to their surroundings. On Thursday, experts introduced the pair to the Andean bear habitat around noon.

About 25 minutes later, officials say both bears climbed over the top of the back wall of the habitat and were exploring a planter area that is at the top of the wall. Keepers issued an alert to the rest of the zoo and began procedures to get the bear cubs secured. One cub was secured and crated at approximately 1:15pm. The second cub was secured and crated at around 3:45pm. The keepers coaxed the bears into their crates with treats that included fruit and peanut butter.

Officials say at no time were the bears or zoo guests in any danger. The bears were never in a public area or an area that was accessible to the public. Zoo Rangers secured the area to ensure that both guests and bears were safe. Officials say guests were cooperative during the situation.

Keepers will assess the best way to secure the habitat so the bears can't get loose again. In the meantime, the cubs will live in the habitat's holding area.

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