Bearizona, a popular wildlife park near the Grand Canyon devoted to providing homes to wild animals in need, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its adoption of four black bear cubs with a $5 donation per car entering the park on Saturday, June 1 to the nonprofit Appalachian Bear Rescue. The celebration coincides with National Black Bear Day, annually recognized on the first Saturday in June. Bearizona hopes to use the day to not only educate the public about the most common bear in North America, but also to dispel myths about the black bear and raise funds for rescue efforts.

In 2018, Bearizona adopted four orphaned black bear cubs after their mothers were euthanized for being too habituated to humans and entering civilized neighborhoods.

The first two rescues were 5-month-old male cubs from Pinetop-Lakeside who made national news when they were discovered hiding at the top of a 75-foot tree one day after their mother was taken by the Arizona Game and Fish Department from a residential neighborhood. A local resident had been feeding the bear daily and this was the second time the Arizona Game and Fish Department had attempted to relocate this bear from a residential area back into the wilderness, which meant she ultimately had to be put down. Unfortunately, the mother was euthanized before the department discovered she had two helpless 15-pound cubs that were unfit to survive in the wilderness without her.

Bearizona rescued two more five-month-old black bear cubs the same month, in June 2018, when their mom was euthanized by White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish after entering multiple campgrounds.

Today, the bears, named Bjorn, Ole, Naki and Dala, are doing well and thriving in their new home.

“We are so grateful to be able to provide a safe and loving home for orphaned bears — thanks, in large part, to our no-breeding program,” said Bearizona Owner Sean Casey. “Although the circumstances behind rescues are often unfortunate, we are grateful to be able to provide a safe and loving home for orphaned cubs.”

Located outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Townsend, Tenn., the Appalachian Bear Rescue is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to care for orphaned and injured black bear cubs for the return to their natural habitat. The organization also focuses on increasing public awareness about coexisting with black bears and research to support all aspects of returning cubs to the wild.

Voted number four and number three, respectively, in the 2019 and 2018 USA TODAY Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Safari Park, Bearizona’s mission is to rescue wild animals in need of new homes and promote conservation by fostering memorable and educational encounters with North American wildlife in natural environments.

For more information, call (928) 635-2289 or visit