Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oswald’s Bear Ranch, Newberry, Michigan

So normally something like this would not be our thing, but a few people, without request, mentioned this place as a place to go when in the U.P, so off we went.  Well, what is Oswald’s Bear Ranch? It is a ranch for rescued bear cubs that once rescued, live here for the rest of their lives. Of course, our first question was, “Well, why not get them as far along as necessary, and then release them into the wild from whence they came? Well, all of these bears came to the ranch as cubs from bear breeders. Yes, people breed bears! (Are we the only people who did not realize that there was a market for bears?) It goes like this: person has buyer for one cub – mama bear has two cubs – person can’t find buyer for second cub and that’s where Oswald’s Bear Ranch comes in. Yes, seriously!

So the bears, having been born of domesticated bears and raised by people from the get-go, cannot be released into the wild. Thus, they are more tame and used to living together in small groups. This lends itself to the four natural habitats where the bears live – the adult males, adult females, yearlings, and cubs. Since they live in natural areas, they make dens and hibernate in the winter, scrounge for food (although food is provided, of course).

Currently there are 29 bears in residence. The cost is $20 per vehicle, no matter the number of people.  For $10, you can also have a photo with a cub and pet it, so…… we are, with Ella!  If you ever wondered what a bear felt like, they are not cuddly at all! The fur was quite coarse and you could feel each individual hair. And now that we’ve seen a bear up close and touched one, well, now we don’t have to search for one when we hike! :-)

Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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