The Countdown Begins!
Apple Valley, MINN – September 7, 2012 – Beginning September 15, Minnesota Zoo guests will be able to enjoy watching one of the true wilderness symbols of our great state up close: black bears. There will be a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at 9 a.m. on September 15 with Zoo Director/CEO Lee Ehmke along with students from Andover Elementary School who brought an initiative to the state legislature wishing to get the black bear named as the state mammal.
Located on the Medtronic Minnesota Trail, the new exhibit will feature three bears who are approximately 2 ½ years of age. Female “Tiva” and males “Syke” and “Kuruk” were orphaned in the Leech Lake area of the state as cubs. Their new home has all the features they need: trees to climb, a pool for bathing, a cave for napping, and hot rocks to lounge on during the cold weather.
“No animal is more firmly linked to the image of Minnesota wilderness than the American Black Bear,” said Minnesota Zoo Director/CEO Lee Ehmke. “Yet when we re-opened the Medtronic Minnesota Trail after its “extreme makeover” in 2007, these iconic animals were missing. Now, with support from the Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, a beautiful new habitat for black bears completes the award-winning Minnesota Trail complex. Three young black bears, rescued as orphans, will delight our guests with their inquisitive and active behaviors, and a series of attractive viewing and learning spaces will help tell their stories, and the complex relationships between people and bears throughout history.”
About Black Bears
There are twice as many black bears as all other bear species combined. Many populations are actually increasing. American black bear populations are healthy, but threats include conflicts with people.
The opening weekend of black bears also begins “Tales Along the Minnesota Trail,” a partnership with the Minnesota Zoo and History Theatre. This 35-minute interactive storytelling musical portrays two young friends, guided through a musical journey that takes them back in time to meet some of the people and animals who have called Minnesota their home. Exploring the languages and stories of our state’s people beginning with the first people, the Ojibwe and Dakota, then the Voyageurs, then the Loggers, followed by the Homesteaders, with a singing tree, a directionally-challenged eagle, and some dancing fish along the way. Guests will receive a commemorative activity guide following the performance.
The Black Bear exhibit is made possible in part through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
Black Bear Exhibit Opening Weekend Activities (sponsored by BMO Harris):