By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4)– A new petition is circulating, aimed at keeping two Denver Zoo polar bears from being relocated to other zoos. Instead, the proposal would keep the bears together and send them to a sanctuary.

While the intentions of those behind the petition may sound good, zoo officials say doing this would be detrimental to not only Cranbeary and Lee, but all polar bears.

(credit: CBS)

“Polar Bears actually don’t like to be together, neither do Cranbeary and Lee in particular,” said Brian Aucone, Senior Vice President of Animal Sciences at the Denver Zoo.

(credit: CBS)

“They spend maybe five to six weeks together and then they don’t want to be together anymore and they tell us that.”

That means it’s time for them to move on – separately.

(credit: CBS)

An association of zoos and aquariums across North America uses DNA research to make sure the bears go to the right place.

(credit: CBS)

“We want to make sure that we have genetically sustainable populations for future generations to come visit them and make that connection and appreciate wildlife,” said Aucone.

(credit: CBS)

“Our hope is that they will be paired with new mates and have success there,” said Jake Kubie with the Denver Zoo.

(credit: CBS)

Kubie says no new polar bears will be coming to the zoo for a while, with grizzly bears taking over the polar bear enclosure.

(credit: CBS)

“Tundra and Kootenai are going to be shifted into the current polar bear habitat after some improvements and renovations are done in order to make it a more appropriate habitat for their species,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Kubie says the zoo is committed to bringing polar bears back, but it will be several years before that is possible, so they hope you enjoy them while you still can.

“We’re coming down to the wire to say goodbye to these guys and so come on out and say goodbye and wish us luck and help us out when they come back,” said Aucone.

LINK: Cranbeary and Lee Petition

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.


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