"Lions and tigers and BEARS! Oh my!"
If you go down to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, you’ll soon be in for a big surprise… We are excited to announce today special plans for an impressive new Bear habitat now being built for an endangered species soon to join us at the zoo! Spectacled bears, better known as the nations favourite children's character 'Paddington' (TM), will be joining Noah's Ark from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany when the new 2 acre habitat is complete. Two male Spectacled bears from Frankfurt Zoo will be the first to make their home in our new 'Andean Adventure' exhibit and will bring the important conservation message to life for our visitors.
At risk in the wild and listed by conservationists on the globally important IUCN Red List as ‘Vulnerable’; Spectacled or ‘Andean’ Bears number only 6 – 10,000 in their native habitats of South America and are a protected species under threat from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. Compared to other flagship animals of conservation interest, Andean bear numbers in the wild are significantly lower. For example African elephants number 300,000, whist giraffes number 80,000 in their native home ranges.
We are well into the building phase of the project, constructing a spacious landscaped new habitat for the two juvenile male Andean bear brothers which will arrive from Frankfurt Zoo in early 2016. The habitat is designed to enhance welfare and meet their complex needs, including accommodating a breeding family for the future. It will offer much more than just the ‘bear’ necessities! 'Andean Adventure' will be 2 acres in size and landscaped to mimic parts of the natural Andean environment home to wild populations of the species. The exhibit will offer hills, a cave and an impressive wide, meandering river ending in a large pool for the bears to use. Encouraging their natural climbing behaviour, the territory will also have trees and aerial platforms.
Joining the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which oversees the management of the bears in participating zoos; Noah’s Ark will begin work with international colleagues to further important research and conservation work. Director of Frankfurt Zoo Dr. Manfred Niekisch said this week: “We are very pleased that our two young Spectacled bears got such a good recommendation by the stud book coordinator.” Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm CEO Anthony Bush comments “We’re delighted to be building this important new habitat for Spectacled bears, joining international colleagues in the research and breeding efforts to support this unique species. We’re grateful to Frankfurt Zoo for partnering with us in the planned transfer of two young male bears to Noah’s Ark when our new habitat is ready for them”.
Located within the 110 acre park’s ‘South American’ section, the bears will share their home with brown-nosed coatis and squirrel monkeys, making an interesting mixed exhibit for visitors to engage with. Already home to many of the iconic ‘big zoo’ animals, visitors to Noah’s Ark will soon be able to mimic the famous quote of surprise by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, saying “Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!” when the new exhibit opens in Spring 2016. Look out for more details to follow shortly and updates on the project as we near completion!
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