For a decade, Montanans have complained about the influx of Californians. The trend has reversed, at least for three grizzlies. A sow and her two 16-month-old cubs had run into trouble by repeatedly raiding garbage cans and cabins just outside Yellowstone National Park. Even after land managers relocated the family, the grizzlies returned to their easy pickings. For the bears, this translates to a death sentence.


That's when townspeople in Big Bear Lake, Calif., began a fund-raising drive to build a 10,000-square-foot home for the animals at the community-run Moonridge Animal Park. Zoo curator Don Richardson, who said it's been 90 years since the last California grizzly was shot, was handed the $108,000 needed for the bears' habitat in just three months, with some donations coming from as far away as Florida and New Jersey. The grizzlies' new quarters, which are tight compared to wild standards, include a pond and towering Jeffrey pines.


* Mark Matthews