Bear Cub Handling Bill Heads to Governor

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A bill that would free up Michigan facilities to let visitors pet and take pictures with bear cubs is headed to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.
The Michigan Senate gave final approval to the bill with a 26-8 vote Tuesday. It would allow the handling of bear cubs less than 9 months old or weighing no more than 90 pounds, but limits it to already existing facilities.
The legislation was introduced specifically to allow cub handling at Oswald's Bear Ranch, near Newberry in the Upper Peninsula.
Snyder spokesman Kurt Weiss said the governor supports the legislation.
The House passed the bill last week. It was approved by the Senate last month, but was returned to the Senate to give final approval to some changes.
Senate Bill 48:

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 19, 2013 at 07:26 AM
    I'm sure Siegfried & Roy would agree on how safe wild animals can be.
  • by Carol Location: Waltman on Mar 16, 2013 at 01:55 AM
    After 15 years of cub petting at Oswald's Bear Ranch with no safety incidents and with State of MI approval, one agency came in and shut it down. (Petting cubs, not the entire Bear Ranch.) The cubs are orphaned, and without rescue they would have died. Dean hand raises them, after which they can't safely be released into the wild. The Bear Ranch is the 2nd largest tourist attraction in the UP, an area with a strong economic reliance on tourism, and cub petting is a big part of the draw. Sen. Tom Casperson did excellent constituent service when he took up the Oswald's cause, and in so doing, helped the area's suffering economy.
  • by Troll Location: Lower Peninsula on Mar 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM
    Although I have been to the UP many times, I have not been to Oswalds. This summer I will make it a point to stop. I think this is a pretty cool thing they are now allowed to do. Just as others have pointed out, this is no different than interacting with other wild animals. Certainly no different than getting pictures taken with juvenile alligators at one of the many ranches in FL. If precautions are taken (age limit for kids, supervision, limiting activity and noise around the cub, etc.)this can be a great way to expose and educate people of all ages about these animals. This will just add to how awesome the UP is. Not only is the "wild" of it relaxing (I go fishing up there a couple times a year), but my family and I spent a week up there and filled the days with sight seeing and stops like the mystery spot, and still didn't have enough time to see everything we wanted. The UP is one of the great places still left.
  • by Danielle Location: Illinois on Mar 13, 2013 at 08:24 AM
    My family and I are so proud of the Oswalds for what they do to save the bears. Of course a bear is a wild animal, but dogs and cats are animals too. Why are sanctuaries for saving dogs, cats, and other animals people consider "pets", any different? Before you cast judgment, go out and see what an incredible place Oswald's provides. You can tell that the bears are so loved and well taken care of. Keep up the awesome job!
  • by Cherie Smeckens Location: interlochen on Mar 13, 2013 at 08:12 AM
    I love Oswalds Bear Ranch and everything they do! whats wrong with all these people and their negative comments??? i live up north though growing up in Flint for the first 38 years of my life, its people that made me leave and move up north. rude, mean and hurtful they are! This is important whether you think so or not. i would love to live back in the day where we were all more in touch with nature rather than your high rise buildings and living on top of one another. your high stressed jobs and crazy lives! they are not throwing you into the ring with a 600 pound wrestling grizzly bear! they are baby cubs, very loving and loveable. sweet and innocent! i get along much better with animals and nature then i do people. Hence why i moved up north and got away from it all. i'd take nature and baby bears anyday over stressed out crazy non caring people! Love You Oswalds! You just keep on doing what your doing, as you do it well! and yes we care!!!
  • by Michele Location: Bruce Mines, Ontario on Mar 12, 2013 at 05:53 PM
    I think what the Oswald's are doing is amazing! Can't wait to go and see it up close and personal. Being able to interact with the cubs will give people a must better understanding of bears in general! So glad to hear it is getting government support!!!
  • by Yooper Location: Upper Peninsula on Mar 12, 2013 at 05:18 PM
    Look at the location is from all the negative posts. Yep, thats right they are from downstate. Oswalds is in a remote part of the U.P. which is highly dependent on tourism. Lots of people go out of their way just to see these bears. For stephen, have you even handled a bear, seen one in the wild. I'm guessing theres not too many around your parts. These are people that care about these bears and know what they are doing. You may not think this is an important issue but in an area where people have a hard time making a living it is very important. Oswalds is a U.P. landmark and a great place to visit.
  • by Angie Meylan Location: Harrison,Mi on Mar 12, 2013 at 04:43 PM
    Congrat's to the Oswald's!!!!
  • by Dee Location: Michigan on Mar 12, 2013 at 04:33 PM
    READ THE ARTICLE PEOPLE!!!! It's about cubs in captivity!
  • by W. Lord Location: Illinois on Mar 12, 2013 at 04:22 PM
    As someone who has had the opportunity to pet a bear cub, I am thankful your legislature has approved this bill. It was a special moment that will live in my memory for a long time. Maybe, you Michigan people should be glad that allowing this to continue means that more tourist dollars will enter your state. I view it as comparable to swimming with dolphins in Florida.
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