Trouble the bear is waving goodbye to the Lake Superior Zoo for good


Trouble – one of the Lake Superior Zoo's most famous residents – is moving away.

The Alaskan brown bear came to the Duluth zoo in 2000, after being caught trying to break into the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage (read more on Trouble's adventure to Minnesota below), a news release says.

But after next week, the 17-year-old bear will wave goodbye to the Lake Superior Zoo for good.


Trouble is being moved to a bear sanctuary as the zoo prepares for a review. Currently, the zoo's bear exhibit doesn't meet the latest Association of Zoos and Aquariums standards, so if Trouble stayed, the zoo could lose its accreditation.

“We naturally have mixed emotions about his departure. We will miss him, but we know he is leaving so we can do the work to retain our accreditation and make this a zoo with many new and interesting exhibits," Julene Boe, the zoo's interim CEO, said in the news release.

There are plans to make a larger brown bear exhibit, called Bear Country, as part of the proposed $15 million revamp of the zoo. (The city has approved the plan, and now officials are asking for funding from the Minnesota Legislature.)

But the Bear Country exhibit won't include Trouble.

The zoo couldn't find a temporary home for the large bear, so the only option left was a permanent place for Trouble at the bear sanctuary.

Details about the bear's new home haven't been released, at the request of the bear sanctuary, according to the zoo.

How Trouble was named Trouble


Trouble got his name after a few break-in attempts and a rambunctious flight to Minnesota.

When Trouble was just a young cub living in the Alaskan wilderness, he repeatedly tried to break into the Alaska Zoo in search for food, the zoo says.

After causing damage and other problems for the zoo, officials were forced to make a decision: either euthanize the bear or find him a permanent home at a zoo somewhere else.

That's when the Lake Superior Zoo stepped up. It had recently lost its beloved brown bear and had extra space in its exhibit.

Officials caught and tranquilized Trouble, and loaded him into the cargo bay of a Northwest Airlines passenger plane that was bound for Duluth.

But inside the cargo bay was a favorite of brown bears: a bunch of salmon.

So when the tranquilizer started wearing off mid-flight, Trouble woke up and tried to reach the salmon. The racket prompted the plane's pilot to reassure passengers that everything was OK – it was just a young brown bear trying to get a snack.

Read more about Trouble's story here, or in the book that was written about him here.

And here's video of Trouble doing his famous wave:


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