Zoo Idaho is mourning the loss of long-time resident grizzly bear Stripes after she passed Wednesday, April, 19, 2023.
Saturday, April 29, an interactive memorial will be set up near the grizzly bear exhibit in honor of Stripes. Zoo Idaho will have prints of Stripes’ front paw as a keepsake for guests to take home and to always remember her. There will also be an area set up for guests to write notes to Stripes. These notes will be placed around the viewing area starting Monday, May 1, for guests to read.
At 34 years old, Stripes had been on supplements and medications for suspected arthritis, and those seemed to be doing well for her until recently. Over the winter, animal care staff noticed Stripes’ mobility declining and took extra measures to ensure her comfort and safety. While Stripes was still somewhat mobile and eating, it was clear her quality of life would not improve and would continue to decline. Animal care staff never take euthanizing an animal lightly. Zoo Idaho staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Stripes for quality of life reasons.
The average lifespan for a grizzly bear is 20 to 25 years, so Stripes’ 34 years was no small accomplishment. Her caretakers fondly remember her as full of sass and spunk. There was never a dull moment with Stripes, from watching her play in the water, taking a nice nap, seeing her snack on some favorite foods, to playing with a neat stick or rock she found. She loved sweets (of course) like grapes and honey and she would never turn down a nice hunk of game meat, fish, or yam. She enjoyed floating around in the pool and the occasional wrestling match with her bear-sized ball.
Stripes joined the residents at Zoo Idaho in 1991 when she came from Columbus, Ohio, at the age of two. She was born in 1989 from a breeding program designed to help keep grizzly bear populations healthy after the species was classified as threatened in 1975. In 2012, she was moved to the new grizzly bear exhibit on the zoo’s upper level, where she enjoyed the rest of her time at Zoo Idaho.
Stripes was so much more than entertainment and good company for her staff. She was an impressive and incredible animal representing her species. The team at Zoo Idaho is forever grateful for the many years they had with her to learn from and cherish her presence. She made an impression on visitors who witnessed her being a great ambassador for grizzly bears living in the wild. The hope is that her time at Zoo Idaho will continue to be a reminder of how important conservation efforts are for these amazing animals.
Zoo Idaho is accessible to persons with disabilities. Program access accommodations may be provided with three (3) days advance notice by contacting Skyler Beebe at firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-234-6248, or 5815 South 5th Avenue, Pocatello, ID.