Two rescued 18-month-old grizzly bears from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana arrived safely at the Reid Park Zoo Thursday.

The brother and sister bears were deemed a safety hazard in a residential area after they learned from their mother to raid for food, said Vivian VanPeenen, a zoo spokeswoman.

The bears were raiding chicken coops, stealing improperly stored food and garbage, and breaking into buildings for livestock feed, VanPeenen said.

They were moved once but returned to the same location before they were rescued, she said.

The rescue was a cooperative effort between the Reid Park Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

"We are pleased to be able to provide a home for these two bears," said Jim Schnormeier, the zoo curator.

"We will be giving them a great habitat, top-notch medical care and will be patient with them as they learn to trust us," he said.

The bears are not visible to the public yet. The pair will spend 30 days getting to know the zookeepers, who will attend to their medical and behavioral needs, VanPeenen said.

An exhibit that formerly housed Snow, the zoo's 17-year-old polar bear who died last September, is under renovation for the grizzly bears.

It is expected to open to the public next month or in early September.

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Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or