New Bear Territory in the Works for Lake Superior Zoo Following June's Floods

By KBJR News 1

Credit: Como Zoo

New Bear Territory in the Works for Lake Superior Zoo Following June's Floods

November 9, 2012 Updated Nov 9, 2012 at 12:48 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- In the wake of June's destructive floods that killed over a dozen zoo animals and ravaged the park's grounds, the Lake Superior Zoo and city officials are re-evaluating sections of their Master Plan that was developed back in 2010.

Zoo staff are hoping that their first major exhibit project will be building a new Bear Territory.

Zoo directors are in the preliminary planning stages and are working with Elm, an architectural consulting firm which specializes in zoo and aquarium design, to develop conceptual drawings and estimated costs for the project.

Zoo officials are hoping to include a polar bear exhibit after the Polar Shores facility sustained heavy damage from the flooding. Staff say the location of the new Bear Territory will be out of the flood plain.

“Zoo facilities and staff were hit extremely hard by the devastating flood,” said Director of Zoo Operations, Peter Pruett. “We are excited to continue moving forward and have the chance to make our zoo a better place for our guests and our animals. Plus, the Bear Territory facility has the potential to be the first project developed from our Master Plan.”

The Lake Superior Zoo's polar bear Berlin is currently being housed at the Como Zoo in St. Paul after June's floods destroyed her home at the Duluth zoo.

Berlin recently underwent surgery to remove a necrotic mass in her stomach. Her condition is stable and she is on the road to recovery.

The Lake Superior Zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Polar Bear Species Survival Plan on what will be best for Berlin as they work towards Bear Territory.

“We want what is absolutely best for Berlin, as well as our brown bears Phoebe and Trouble,” Pruett said. “That is our number one priority. We want them to be in the best exhibit, in the best home.”

Posted to the web by Krista Burns