The Ark’s Andean Adventure Begins!

Andean2 Although half term is over, there’s no reason to feel down – it marks the swift arrival of spring and along with warmer weather, longer days and delicious Easter chocolate, we've got something else to look forward to… That’s right, here at the zoo we’re gearing up for the opening of a brand new exhibit in the coming months, something special for our animal-loving friends; if you go down to Noah’s Ark this Easter, you’re in for a big surprise… Bears! We’re delighted to be opening our Andean Adventure, a two-acre specially landscaped and enriched habitat for Spectacled bears. These bears are unique among the species, with white markings around the face and commonly around the eyes – hence the name! These lovely creatures are native to South America (just like Paddington!) and are emblematic of the tropical Andes region.

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Not only are they fun and endearing to observe – they are also of conservation importance. Spectacled bears are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List, as they are at risk of habitat loss and interference by human populations, including for bush meat and the illegal pet trade. Because of this threat we’re partnering with the Andean Bear Foundation (ABF), an in-situ conservation and research charity doing important work in South America working to protect this animal in the wild. The ABF are working with us to develop educational displays to communicate the cons ervation issues associated with Andean bears and help spread the word about their situation.

We’re initially welcoming two bear brothers to set up home with us this March – Sonco and Tupa –from the wonderful Frankfurt Zoo in Germany. The brothers are 2-3 years old and are already very much their own characters – we think they might be quite a handful for our Keepers! They’re known to be incredibly active and enjoy playing, climbing and swimming; so they should settle in well at our Andean Adventure as we've created an area for them full of things to climb, caves to explore and even their own stream and pool to swim in! The Andean Adventure will be open in time for the Easter holidays – and we’d love you to join us. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news of the opening date, pictures and further information.

And here’s a little secret: we’ll have a special guest joining us to help open the exhibit and introduce you all to our new bears, but we’ll reveal exactly who at a later date, so stay tuned…!

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Aside from the animals we've also got 15 exciting indoor and outdoor adventure play zones, 25,000sq metres of indoor heated public areas (perfect if the weather isn't so great!), a café full of delicious food and convenient kiosks located around the park for those who fancy a quick drink and snack whilst exploring. So why not pop along for an adventure all of your own? You can buy your tickets online for a 5% discount here and get quicker entry on arrival, or you can buy your tickets on the door. Don’t hesitate – come and visit the largest zoo farm in the south west this Easter!

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