The Denver Zoo's polar bears, Cranbeary and Lee, will soon leave for different zoos for better changes at breeding.

Courtesy of the Denver Zoo

When the Denver Zoo’s popular polar bears were recently moved out-of-state, zoo officials said they were playing matchmaker. The polar bears needed new mates in hopes they'd have cubs.

But another significant factor was the health of the zoo’s two grizzly bears.

In March, 2017 a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector reported the grizzly enclosure was too small. As a result the bears were showing signs of stress — pacing non-stop and swinging their heads.  The USDA inspection was first reported by the Colorado Sun.

Now those grizzlies are scheduled to move into the polar bears' much larger enclosure.

Brian Aucone, the Denver Zoo’s senior vice president for animal care and conservation, talked to Colorado Matters about the health of the grizzly bears and the logic behind the shuffle. He said it'll also give tourists the chance to see the grizzlies close up.