Royal Oak — Two of Detroit Zoo's beloved bears have permanently left their pen for a Colorado sanctuary that provides more acres of space and opportunities for interactions with other bears. 

20-year-old Syrian brown bear Polly and North American black bear Migwan,15, are on their way to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado. It has rolling prairie grasslands, pools for swimming, climbing structures to play on, shady spaces for resting and underground dens. 

Polly was rescued in 2000 from a roadside circus, having sustained psychological trauma from living in a small cage with a hamster-like performance wheel. Two years later, Migwan was discovered as a cub in Gladwin with porcupine quills in her face.

“We recently learned of a sanctuary that can provide both bears with many acres of space, options for social partners if they want them and staff with expertise in caring for animals who have experienced physical and psychological trauma,” said Ron Kagan, executive director and CEO for the Detroit Zoological Society in a press release.

In June 2004, the Detroit Zoo sent their elephants Winky and Wanda to a sanctuary in Tennessee, California.

“Just as we did with the elephants in 2004, when we discover a place that can provide animals with an improved situation, we have a responsibility to allow them to go from a good life to a great life,” Kagan said in the release.

Don't worry – there are still grizzlies to see. Kagan said the move will enable the Detroit Zoo to expand the space for bear brothers Mike, Thor and Boo – who were rescued as cubs from Alaska in 2011 after a poacher killed their mother. Construction to improve their habitat begins Tuesday.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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