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Ohio zoo will house orphaned cubs of killer bear euthanized after hiker death in Yellowstone

CLEVELAND, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Two female grizzly bear cubs orphaned after their mother was euthanized because she was linked to the fatal mauling of a hiker in Yellowstone National Park will be moved to a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, zoo officials said o...

CLEVELAND, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Two female grizzly bear cubs orphaned after their mother was euthanized because she was linked to the fatal mauling of a hiker in Yellowstone National Park will be moved to a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, zoo officials said on Friday.

The cubs, both less than a year old, were orphaned when their 259-pound (117-kg) mother was killed on Thursday after DNA testing proved she was involved in the death of hiker Lance Crosby, 63.

The 50-to-60 pound (23-to-27 kg) cubs cannot survive on their own in the wild and will be transferred to a captive facility first before arriving at the Toledo Zoo in the fall, zoo officials said.

"Upon their arrival at the zoo, the cubs will undergo standard quarantine processes to ensure their health and wellness before going on exhibit for public viewing," the zoo said in a statement.

Yellowstone Park's announcement that it would kill the mother grizzly to ensure public safety unleashed a torrent of protests from wildlife advocates. Grizzly attacks are rare at the park, which last reported two separate deadly maulings in 2011 involving hikers, the first since 1986.

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Crosby, a registered nurse from Billings, Montana, suffered wounds to his forearms and elsewhere in the attack by the mother bear and possibly her cubs. He had been reported missing by co-workers at a company that operates urgent care clinics in Yellowstone, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Crosby's body, which was found a week ago, had been covered with vegetation in a sign that the bears intended to return to recover it, park officials said on Thursday.

The Toledo Zoo has not had a grizzly bear exhibit for more than 30 years. When the cubs arrive, the zoo will then be home to grizzly, polar and sloth bear species.

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Reporting by Kim Palmer

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