As with exploring open land for the first time, it’s also likely the first time since being infants that the bears have lived among others of their kind. In the tourism industry, bears are often torn from their mothers as cubs for use in various attractions like petting experiences or cub selfies.
“Across the country, hundreds of bears spend their lives confined to small concrete-floored enclosures or pits in roadside zoos,” Cryar said. “Some cubs are separated from their mothers as infants, so instead of being nurtured by their moms, they spend their days being forced to participate in photo ops with tourists. Their lives are typically devoid of any comfort or outlets for engaging in natural behavior.”