SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters Life!) - The thought of growing old may be unbearable to some humans, but for two bears who turned 30 on Wednesday, ageing is far from unsavoury.
Bethel and Cynthia, brown Kodiak Bear sisters whom zookeepers said are among the oldest in captivity, started their birthday at Sydney's zoo with a special breakfast of fresh, whole salmon.
The sisters, born in Colorado Springs in the United States in 1977, were tiny cubs when they moved to Australia. They have been in Sydney since 1985.
"They're old women now," said Louise Ginman, a senior carnivore zookeeper who has been looking after the bears for more than 10 years. "Bethel and Cynthia used to be fairly excitable," she said. "They would occasionally be very impatient with us, forcefully ask for their food, now they are gentle old ladies. They hand-feed with us really nicely, now they are really a pleasure to work with, their manners are wonderful."
Kodiak bears, native to the Kodiak Archipelago near Alaska, are ominvores that live up to 30 years in the wild. Their lifespan increases to about 50 years in captivity. Having an outstanding sense of smell but poor eyesight, Kodiak Bears can stand up to three meters tall and weigh approximately 780kilograms. It is estimated that there are 3,500 left of the species in the wild.
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