Welcome ‘Winnie’ the Bear
Winnie, a 7 year old, 272 lb black bear comes to the NEW Zoo from the Niabi Zoo in Illinois. She arrived here on Friday, July 8th and ventured into the exhibit yard for the first time on Tuesday. Carmen Murach, Curator of Animals says “We kept her indoors for her first few days here so we could be sure she had a chance to become accustomed to her den and know that it is a secure and comfortable refuge.”
The exhibit has been empty since the death of 26 year old Suzie last winter (bears are expected to live about 25 years in captivity - much longer than a wild bear would typically live). Murach says “Winnie wasted no time showing us that we will need to adjust to having a much more active bear in the exhibit - she figured out how to open the valve on her pond within minutes! The ancient bears who had previously inhabited the exhibit did not have time for such foolishness.”
Winnie will continue to have the option of hiding out in her den if she so chooses while she is getting used to her new home. The NEW Zoo hopes to add a second bear to the exhibit in the future to provide companionship for Winnie. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities frequently contact the AZA in an effort to find permanent homes for young wild orphan bears who would otherwise be euthanized.
Visitors can see Winnie and check out her new digs in the Wisconsin/Northern Trails section of the NEW Zoo.