Grizzly bear brothers get first public checkup at Oklahoma City Zoo


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Some of the most beloved residents at the Oklahoma City Zoo underwent routine exams.

For the first time, visitors were able to get an up-close look at some of the largest creatures in the zoo during a checkup.

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Will and Wiley

Zoo curators say grizzly bear brothers Will and Wiley take a big role in their own healthcare and know that checkups are a “bear necessity.” 

“We had the caregivers come down this morning and they actually gave him a voluntary injection and after that, he went to sleep very, very peacefully,” said carnivore curator Tyler Boyd.

With a little teamwork, a very sleepy 915-pound Wiley was lifted onto the exam table with a captive audience watching above.  

“It lets us have a much better look at them,” Boyd said. “We’re going to run radiographs. We’re going to check blood, check teeth and make sure they’re healthy for their age and as happy as they can be.”

Wiley and Will were orphaned as babies when their mom was killed by a hunter.  

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Will and Wiley, the younger years

They took a passenger plane ride from Alaska to their forever home here at the zoo.  

Through the years, they’ve been beloved residents especially on Groundhog Day when they look for their shadow  

“These guys are the hallmark animals that are on our Oklahoma Trail,” Boyd said. 

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Wiley getting a checkup.

However, this is their first checkup at the Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital.  

During this visit, they are fitted with the equivalent of a FitBit for bears as part of a study by a researcher at Mississippi State University. 

“What that will do is give us some research on how they interact with each other and how they move about their exhibit,” said Boyd. 

The two brothers are working to save their species, even in their sleep.  

“They’re excellent ambassadors for their species,” said Boyd. “They’re very active, very playful and they get along great. We’re very fortunate to have them.”

Will and Wiley’s smart collar study will last 18 weeks.

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