Theodore Roosevelt has gone down in history not just for his accomplishments during his Presidency, but also for being the President with the most pets during his time in the White House. The entire Roosevelt family were animal lovers, and between them all the parade of animals that passed in and out of their lives could practically be called a zoo. When the family was in the White House, their pet population increased at an alarming rate. This is because often foreign dignitaries would send animals as gifts.
One “set” of gifts included 5 bears. It is not known if the bears were named, or even where they came from. In his book The Green Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt in Appreciation of Wilderness, Wildlife, and Wild Places, Roosevelt simply lists a number of animals that were received as gifts, and goes on to add that “most of these went to the zoo.”
At one time, the Roosevelt children did have a small black bear in residence, named Jonathan Edwards. His name was given to him, according to Roosevelt, to honor one of his wife Edith’s ancestors. Predictably, as Jonathan Edwards grew, so did his temper and wildness, and in January of 1901 Roosevelt wrote to the Bronx Zoo, inquiring if they would be interested in giving Jonathan Edwards a home.
As there is little to no information on the 5 gifted bears, it is likely that they too were zoo-bound upon arrival in Washington.