Lucky was born in the wild in Wisconsin, and had a rough start in life. People took him from his mother’s den, and although Lucky bonded with them, they soon found that he was becoming too much of a handful to keep. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials said he could not be released back into the wild. They asked if the NABC could take him, and he arrived on July 6, 2007. He met Ted and Honey on July 15.
Lucky’s playful antics have earned him the title of “comedian” at the Bear Center. He has matured into a curious, playful, gorgeous bear for visitors to delight in and watch at the Bear Center.
Lucky likes to climb trees in the enclosure, much to the delight of visitors at the center:
Although he and Ted are no longer playing buddies, they have shared the same interests in foraging for foods, denning, and an interest in Honey.
Lucky’s sweet and comedic personality has endeared him to educators around the world and visitors of the same. He continues to surprise us as to what he plays with and how he can entertain himself with a bucket, cardboard roll or tree branch and a variety of items supplied to the bears as part of their daily enrichment program.
Lucky is often seen walking along the fence and being attentive to what the staff is doing just beyond the fenced enclosure. His distinct curiosity keeps him busy and the staff entertained.
As Lucky matured he was testing his boundaries with Ted. Because the competition between Ted and Lucky was increasing, and Ted was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and fearful of Lucky, it was decided to castrate Lucky in April 2013.
How Lucky the Orphan Cub Learned to Trust Big Ted at the North American Bear Center
When Lucky was introduced to Ted and Honey on July 15, 2007, he ran in terror and leaped up a tree. He weighed just about 20 pounds, and any mistake with big bears he didn’t know could end his life.
For the rest of the summer, Honey reinforced Lucky’s fear. She chased him up a tree whenever she saw him. But big Ted was just his friendly old self. He wanted to meet Lucky, and he seemed frustrated when Lucky kept running away.
Finally, on October 3, Lucky approached Ted. Ted laid his head on a log and extended his tongue—a friendly gesture. Lucky was cautious. He ran to a rock where he could feel more secure. Ted followed and continued his overtures. Lucky reciprocated. They touched tongues. A friendship began. (See video below)
Over the next 3 weeks Lucky slowly became more comfortable around Ted but usually kept an object between himself and Ted for protection.
On October 27, Lucky initiated play for the first time. Cautious play. He came close enough for open mouth sparring but mostly stayed beyond Ted’s reach.
Over the next four days, Lucky showed more and more trust. On October 31, he engaged Ted in full contact play.He grabbed Ted’s big head with his paws. He lay on his back under Ted. He even let Ted put a paw on his belly.