Sassafras, also called Sassy (born c. 2013) is a female American black bear, on exhibit with her sister, Betulas (or Bety) in the Barbara Ingalls Shook Black Bear Trail in the Alabama Wilds section of the Birmingham Zoo. "Sassafras", like her sister, is named for a genus of tree.
The pair of cubs had become habituated to being fed by a homeowner in Big Sky, Montana. The Montana Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Great Falls took charge of them and determined that due to imprinting they were unsuited to be returned to the wild. They were brought to Birmingham on a FedEx aircraft in March 2014 and, after a period of quarantine, were placed on temporary exhibit near the Predator Building.
Since August 2015 the two bears have been the centerpiece of the Zoo's "Black Bear Trail", which was designed to contrast a wild bear habitat with a residential yard to educate the public about habitat loss and wildlife encounters.
- Rodriguez, Ana (March 30, 2014) "A look at Sassy and Bety: Black bear yearlings settle in at Birmingham Zoo." The Birmingham News
- Moore, Tamika (August 7, 2015) "Birmingham Zoo opens new black bear exhibit." The Birmingham News