Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the official groundbreaking of a spacious new habitat for Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus), welcoming back a species that last was part of the Zoo’s animal collection in 2011. The bears will join the Zoo when construction on the habitat is complete, slated for spring 2022.
Andean bears are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program, which focuses the collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums on endangered species recovery. Native to the Andes and outlying mountain ranges, the bears’ conservation status is listed as vulnerable, with a decreasing population in the wild.
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo board members, Zoo staff, representatives from Diversity Construction Group (DCG) and dignitaries will gather for a groundbreaking event for the Zoo’s newest habitat on Thursday, July 29 at 11 a.m.
“Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo continues to grow, allowing us to expand on our mission of animal conservation and education. We’re pleased to welcome Andean bears back to the Zoo as another chapter in the story of diversity and richness of life in South America,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director.
“Our heartfelt thanks to the state of Connecticut for helping to fund our newest habitat,” Dancho added. “Thank you also to our dedicated staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers.”
The new Andean bear habitat will be substantially larger than the bear habitat from a decade ago. The bears required a larger enclosure, and the Zoo chose then to relocate them to a more appropriate facility. The new Andean bear habitat will feature a landscaped outdoor yard with multiple opportunities for climbing and engaging in social behaviors. The work is being done by Diversity Construction Group LLC.