The two Bears will join the Zoo’s 16-year-old Black Bear, Charles, in an exhibit that features a fire-hose hammock and a multi-level platform that provides enrichment to the Bears.
“The Great Plains Zoo is proud that we were able to work quickly to provide these nuisance bears a new lease on life,” said Elizabeth Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo. The decision to remove the Black Bear and her cub from the Park was made out of concern for public safety. The female was identified as having raided backpacks and campsites for food over the last several years. This behavior indicated the Bear had become conditioned to associate humans with food. Park managers welcomed the opportunity to relocate these Bears to a zoo, as the alternative would have been euthanization.
“The two Black Bears will be great ambassadors for their counterparts living in the wild,” continued Whealy. “Unfortunately, ‘a fed bear is a dead bear’ is not just a saying; their story will help us teach and remind people how to avoid conflict with Bears when camping and hiking.”
The Black Bear exhibit is next to the Zoo’s “Bear Canyon” Brown Bear exhibit. The Zoo recently announced plans for a $2 million renovation of the Brown Bear habitat.
The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last admission at 6 p.m. Visit the Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the Zoo and Museum.