Preparing for our bear arrival at Noah’s Ark!

As you are probably aware, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is home to some amazing big zoo animals: lions, giraffes, elephants, tigers, rhinos – along with many other impressive species. However, we’ve always wanted to add bears to our animal family – and next year, that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

But first things first; before we invite two bears to join our zoo, we need to make sure that – like our other animals – they have the perfect habitat in which to thrive and enjoy life. So we are currently very busy working on our ‘Andean Adventure’ – a brand new, two-acre, specially-landscaped exhibit which will become home to two endangered Spectacled Bears (made famous by the nation’s favourite marmalade-loving children’s character, Paddington!).

Last month saw the completion of the first phase of the project, with the creation of the largest elements of landscaping – including 12-foot hills, bear caves, a sweeping river system, shingle banks and the installation and securing of a large reclaimed tree (should the bears fancy a spot of climbing).

Things are progressing fast: construction is also now underway in the main bear den building, which will include private areas for the bears, off-show cubbing dens, the ‘keeper kitchen’ for food preparation, and other useful facilities. Certain parts of the building will be made sound-proof to ensure that the bears can get some peace and quiet whenever they wish to escape from human noise and interference. This will be particularly beneficial to female bears when they are nursing their young in the years to come.

Initially, we will be bringing in two bear brothers, aged two, from Frankfurt Zoo in Germany. They are known for their playful personalities and very much enjoy exploring. They particularly like to interact with water, so will love the shallow river, waterfall and deep swimming pool (located right next to the visitors’ standpoint). However, looking ahead, we very much hope to take on females and establish a breeding unit. This will help maintain a sustainable EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) and allow us to carry out important research into the species, the results of which can be shared.

The ICUN Red List has listed Spectacled – or ‘Andean’ bears – as ‘vulnerable’: in their native habitats of South America they are believed to number between just 6,000 and 10,000. Noah’s Ark will be joining forces with the EEP and will work with zoo keepers and research academics from Europe, in a collective effort to learn more about the species and effectively manage them in captivity, aiding conservation efforts.

The bears are expected to travel over from Frankfurt to Noah’s Ark next spring, and we are extremely excited about their imminent arrival. We will keep you informed on any updates as the project to complete their home – Andean Adventure – progresses.

In the meantime, come and pay our other amazing animals a visit. Elephant Eden – described as a luxury five-star resort for elephants – has been a huge success story, and we have every hope that Andean Adventure will be, too.

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