'Bully' Black Bear Bounced From Topeka Zoo, Sis Too

(Courtesy: Topeka Zoo)
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Two of the Topeka Zoo's American Black Bears will soon head to a new home. Six year-old JD - the zoo's only boy bear - and his sister, Katie, are going to an unidentified zoo in the Northwest.

“It was the perfect situation,” Topeka Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said. “JD and Katie get to stay together, and get a beautiful new exhibit of their own.”

Zookeepers divided their bear exhibit in half last year after JD started bullying Sneak and Peak, the 19 year-old sisters that made up the rest of the zoo's sleuth. They tried enrichment, training, ans other tactics to get him to be nicer to his elders, but none of it worked. They eventually separated them, with each pair of bears getting the exhibit every other day.

“We have tried many different things to balance things among the bears,” Animal Care Supervisor Shanna Simpson said. “We just didn’t feel that it was fair to either group of bears to only get the exhibit half of the time.”

And since Sneak and Peek won't have to worry about JD bullying them anymore, the Hills Black Bear exhibit will be recombined.

“Because the exhibit was designed for four bears, we will be reaching out to wildlife rehabilitation centers in the next few weeks to let them know we can provide a home for two young bears that can’t be returned to the wild.” Wiley said.

Posted by: Nick Viviani