May 28, 2015 (Topeka, Kan.) - Beginning today, visitors to the Topeka Zoo will be allowed to observe the zoo's youngest bears, Indie and Val. Short for Independence and Valor, both females were orphaned when they were around 5 months old and sent to the Topeka Zoo for their upbringing. Indie is from Oregon and Val came from Alaska, not yet having the skills necessary to survive in the wild. Since last July they have remained off exhibit and cared for by the staff. They are both around a healthy 100 lbs. now and the spring has them wanting to get out and play.

Bear cub at the Topeka Zoo

Lots of work has gone into this process and over the last month the staff at the zoo have been able to retrofit the existing Hill's American Black Bear Woods into a bear cub playground safe for them to explore. Bear cubs such as Indie and Val are naturally curious and, lacking the size of the adults, are more able to climb just about anything. The cubs took to their surrounding very quickly on Tuesday and explored their new habitat at great detail, climbing and running throughout.

Cub at the Topeka Zoo

"Today is a special day here as our two bear cubs, Indie and Val both get to be on exhibit in the big yard at Hill's Black Bear Woods here at the Topeka Zoo," stated Brendan Wiley, Director of the Topeka Zoo. "These two bear cubs came in about a year ago and both came in as orphans. Although they had a rough start to their lives, they are thriving now."

After animals are introduced to their exhibit, the staff remains watchful and requires extra man power as they observe and make sure the bears don't exceed their new boundaries and stay healthy. The zoo invites the public to observe them and learn just how active 18 month bear cubs can be!

Brendan Wiley
635 SW Gage Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66606