Polar Bear Exhibit Renovations
The Polar Bear Exhibit is currently closed. Patches the polar bear arrived safely at the North Carolina Zoo November 20, but it could be a number of days before she is on public view. More information on the exhibit will provided when available.
Construction began in fall 2011. According to Jeff Owen, animal management supervisor in charge of the Rocky Coast complex where the polar bears are exhibited, the expansion project will triple the space available for bears and could accommodate up to six when completed.
Polar bears have always been a favorite with zoo visitors, but habitat loss and other environmental changes have placed wild polar bears on the endangered list. The N.C. Zoo is looking at the future of the entire species as the exhibit expansion will enable the park to add additional animals and help educate visitors about the polar bears' plight in the wild.
The project will provide additional viewing opportunities for visitors. A new exhibit area that simulates an alpine meadow will be added to the existing 10-foot-deep pool and rocky landscape. A maternity den is also included in the renovations, which may enable the zoo to create a breeding group of polar bears.
"We hope in years down the line we will have baby polar bears," Owen said. "So we’re setting up our new facilities and holding areas for that."
The exhibit renovations are expected to be complete in late 2014 and will provide the N.C. Zoo with some of the best polar bear facilities in American zoos.