BRIDGEPORT, Conn. –— May 20, 2023-- Rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd gathered for the official opening of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo new Andean Bear Habitat today. Zoo Director Gregg Dancho welcomed a large gathering of Zoo guests along with Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, in one of two covered viewing areas. Andean bear Cayambe wandered through the habitat and at one point came right up to the viewing window, to the delight of the guests.
The new habitat welcomes back a species that was last part of the Zoo’s animal family in 2011. This large and beautiful habitat for the arboreal (tree-climbing) bears features trees, two rock caves, a swimming pond and a hammock. Native to the Andes and outlying mountain ranges, the bears’ conservation status is listed as vulnerable, with a decreasing population in the wild. They are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program.
Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said, “This is a momentous thing we’re doing here today, “ adding that it is the Zoo’s largest project since he began his Zoo career forty-three years ago. Mayor Joseph Ganim called the habitat a “phenomenal advancement,” and congratulated the staff on the new habitat.
The habitat has space for four to five bears eventually, along with a maternity room and nursery with heated floors. The South American Andean bears do not hibernate as North American bears do, so they’ll be active in the habitat all year long.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Get your ticket to adventure! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 101st year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tiger and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves. Other highlights include our new Andean Bear Habitat, Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and participant in its Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs, the non-profit Zoo is committed to the preservation of endangered animals and wild habitats. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org.
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