Local News

Will Facebook’s famous bear cub move to Sitka?

Smokey, an orphaned  black bear cub, has gone viral on Facebook. Sitka's Fortress of the Bear has offered to house the animal. .

Smokey, an orphaned black bear cub, has gone viral on Facebook. Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear has offered to house the animal. (Photo courtesy Angels for Animals Network Facebook page.)

A black bear cub that‘s become a Facebook star could find a new home in Sitka.

The local brown-bear sanctuary and tourist attraction has offered to take in Smokey, a young cub captured on the Kenai Peninsula.

Evy Kinnear runs Fortress of the Bear with her husband Les.

She says the facility would use an enclosure left over from its early days until something bigger could be built.

“We have to order heavy fencing material and things like that. So it will probably be a week or two before it would be available for public viewing, if we do get it. We’re hoping. We like to save as many as we can,” Kinnear says.

She says she’s working with the state Department of Fish and Game to acquire permits needed to house the bear. There’s no guarantee the move will be approved.

The nationwide group Angels for Animals Network last week issued a public appeal to save the cub on its Facebook page. It’s been shared 9,000 times and has gone viral.

Kinnear says she hopes to find out soon whether the Fortress will get the bear.

The cub was named Smokey because it was found inside a smoke shack at Seward’s Spring Creek prison. Its mother had been shot.

The black bear cannot be housed with the Fortress brown bears.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

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