WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Baylor University has announced the addition of two American black bear cubs to the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat!

The university says that the cubs are named Judge Indy and Judge Belle, who are cousins by birth. They will join the Baylor Family in the on-campus habitat as early as mid-summer.

Indy was born on January 24, 2023, and currently weighs 25 pounds. She is the largest of her litter. Belle was born on January 29, 2023, and weighs 21 pounds. She is the smallest of hers. The university says their size difference is already providing some observed differences in their personalities, behavior and play dynamics.

The university says the rescue cubs were identified through a network of contacts which included the Bear Habitat’s veterinary team, an external bear consultant and colleagues from AZA peer facilities. They all found the “perfect fit” with these two American black bears in need of a home from a wildlife park in Idaho.

After an observational period with the Bear Habitat’s external bear consultant and evaluation by the Habitat’s veterinary team, the cubs officially entered Baylor’s care earlier this month.

According to Baylor, American black bears have a large native habitat range including Texas – and extends as far north as Alaska and Canada, as far south as northern Mexico and throughout each of the lower 48 states. Unlike the cinnamon-colored variance in the coats of Lady and Joy, it is expected that Indy and Belle will carry jet-black fur throughout the year.

L-R: Judge Indy and Judge Belle. (Courtesy: Baylor University)

Like their human counterparts in the 2023 entering class, the cubs are expected to enjoy “Move-In Day” into their campus home in mid-August.

For more information about how to donate to the Bear Habitat and to continue the legacy of this Baylor tradition, you can visit bearhabitat.web.baylor.edu.