Snyder Signs Bill into Law Allowing Contact with Bears

Filed under: U.P. News Updates |

Great Lakes Radio NewsMARQUETTE, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News)Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that would allow the public to touch and pose for photos with bear cubs.

The measure amends Michigan’s Large Carnivore Act by letting patrons at certain animal care facilities come into direct contact with a bear less than 36 weeks of age or weighing less than 90 pounds.

The bill stems from an Upper Peninsula bear ranch which last year had to discontinue allowing visitors pose for photos while feeding black bear cubs, because it was against state law. Snyder says Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry is an important piece of the U.P. culture and they play an important role in raising rescued cubs to adulthood, as well as providing the public with education about black bears.

Open since 1997, Oswald’s Bear Ranch currently has 29 bears on site. A group of zoos in Michigan and the Michigan Humane Society have vehemently opposed the new law, arguing it’s risky for bears and humans alike.

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