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We recently wished Finley the Florida black bear well as she returned to her native habitat.


We’ve continued to give critical care to Florida black bear cubs in need – and we have a special success story to share with you today! We released another cub rehabilitated at our Zoo with the support of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). 

Watch a video of Finley being released: https://youtu.be/7e2K00Q2YHI

In January 2024, our FWC partners brought a 1-year-old cub to us from the Florida panhandle. Named Finley by her Zoo animal care team, she appeared to have been alone for some time. Finley was severely underweight and had a skin condition that may have been caused by anemia. Finley came to us weighing about 16 pounds – bears at that age should weigh between 80-100 pounds.  

She was brought to our Zoo by FWC to address these medical and nutritional needs with the goal of getting her healthy enough to be released back to her natural range. She was released in April 2024 – weighing in at 70 pounds after nearly three months with us! 

Ensuring our rehab cubs receive great care while not becoming accustomed to people isn’t a simple task! While she was with us, Finley’s animal care team cleaned and stocked her space once a day while she was in a secure carrier. Her animal care team also fed her using a belt feeder, a device that slowly dispensed her diet, including gastrointestinal dog food, peanuts, pumpkin and greens.  

Finley was also introduced to a variety of enrichment in her space, from novelty foods like frozen pumpkins to fun substrates like pine shavings. These items encouraged her natural behaviors like foraging, exploring her space and investigating new items.  

We’re proud to be able to lend our expertise in animal wellbeing, especially to help Finley along her rehabilitation journey with FWC. Together, we are working to better understand the needs of orphaned black bear cubs to help increase the number of bears who can be successfully rehabilitated and released. 

Special thanks to Flammio Financial Group, Stifel-Garvin Wealth Management Group, Artemis IT, and Jim and Darleen Barfield. Their generosity makes our work possible! 

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.