The Three-Legged Bear Returns!

The most popular bear at Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary is on his 11th year.

ORR, MN—July 6, 2010—The American Bear Association is announcing the return of the famous three legged wild Black Bear named Schwinn to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary located in Orr, MN.

This bear has become quite popular with all the locals and visitors of the sanctuary from around the world. Many people call and email the sanctuary inquiring if Schwinn has returned for the season. He is also known as Tripod and originally received his name from the reference to the Schwinn tricycle.

It is not known how the three-legged bear lost his leg, but there are many theories. The accident probably happened as an adult because the odds of a cub making it with only three legs are very slim. Schwinn started coming to the sanctuary when he was just 2 years old and has shown up every year for the past 11 years, making him 13 years old.

“Visitors always ask about the three legged bear, if he has come back,” says American Bear Association founder and bear behaviorist Klari Lea, “They are always rooting for him and pulling for him to come back the next season.” Adds Lea, “We’re particularly excited when he returns. He is just an amazing animal and I feel a lot of people can relate to him. He is the easiest bear at the sanctuary to identify.”
The three-legged bear, Schwinn, joins approximately 50 bears that visit the sanctuary. Missing his left front leg has never slowed him down and Schwinn can hold his own with the other bears and has learned to survive in the dominant hierarchy of the wild bears at the sanctuary. He may hobble around when he walks, but can quickly run away when feeling threatened.

Currently, the sanctuary does not know how far Schwinn travels or where he goes to hibernate. In this case, the sanctuary would like to put out a request to the public and ask anyone who spots Schwinn to call the sanctuary and report a sighting.

The American Bear Association was established as a nonprofit organization in 1995. Thousands of people visit the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary every year to view and learn about black bears, their behavior, habitat needs and life cycles. It is known by photographers as “the best place in North American to photograph wild black bears in their natural habitat.” The Sanctuary is open to the public each Tuesday through Sunday, from 5PM till dusk, between Memorial Day and Labor Day and closed on Mondays. September 6th is their last day of operation. For more information visit the website