CLEVELAND — By summer 2023, Andean and sloth bears will have a new, expansive home in the “Bear Hollow” at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The $7.7 million project will improve and expand the tropical bear habitats in the Wilderness Trek.
The zoo said Bear Hollow will feature four new habitats that will nearly triple the size of the former 50-year-old spaces and enhance guest viewing and animal care efforts of Andean and sloth bears, both of which are listed as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Bear Hollow will feature new climbing structures, elevated resting areas and dig pits to resemble bears’ natural behaviors. The four separate habitat areas will be interconnected, providing the bears with more complexity, similar to the designs of the Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve and Rosebrough Tiger Passage.
“Our Andean and sloth bears are incredible ambassadors for their vulnerable counterparts in the wild,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director. “The new Bear Hollow will be transformational for our guests and, more importantly for our bears, and will provide future opportunities for our Zoo to play a role in sustaining these important species.”
The project will provide new glass viewing areas, allowing guests to get nose-to-nose close with bears. An immersive treehouse, centered in Bear Hollow, will allow guests to have a nearly 360-degree-view of the new habitats. There will be a separate viewing area that will allow guests to get up-close views of animal care staff conducting training for bear health and husbandry monitoring.
Construction will begin in July and will be open by early summer 2023.
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