ASHEBORO, N.C. (WECT) – The North Carolina Zoo has a new resident – a 740-pound grizzly bear named Ronan.
Zoo officials say the 9-year-old grizzly was relocated to Asheboro from the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, based on a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Ronan is settling into his new habitat in the North America continent area of the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo’s grizzly bear habitat had remained empty since the summer following the death of Tommo, a grizzly bear who lived at the zoo for 26 years.
“We are so excited to welcome Ronan to the Zoo,” said the Zoo’s Curator of Mammals Jay Stutz. “He is settling in well and already building meaningful relationships with his keepers. We all look forward to the experiences that he will share with our guests and staff.”
Ronan and his twin sister Finley were rescued in 2013 and relocated to the Reid Park Zoo when they were just a year old.
“That decision was made after wildlife officials in Yellowstone deemed their mother a “nuisance” bear,” a news release states. “Nuisance bears have lost their fear of humans because they start to associate people as suppliers of food Because of this, they pose a significant threat to humans (raiding campsites and hiking trails), and many bears, such as the mother, must be put down.”
While Ronan and Finley shared a habitat since arriving at Reid Park Zoo, wildlife officials say grizzlies need to live separately as they get older because they are solitary animals.
“Ronan has always been a calm and easygoing bear who quickly became a favorite with all of the keepers who worked with him. He has grown into an adult bear at Reid Park Zoo and will definitely be missed, but everyone here is so excited for his chance to continue to grow and experience new things at his new home,” said Stephanie Norton, Animal Welfare Specialist.
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