Our grizzlies now have the opportunity to partake in a natural behavior that wasn’t possible in the exhibit before. Digging!  In their natural habitat grizzlies spend a lot of time digging for food items. In designing the exhibit, it was important to give the bears this all important opportunity. A few weeks back, during a lull in the construction activities, we were able to let the bears into the exhibit and see what they would do with their new dirt substrate at the front of the exhibit. We could hardly contain our excitement as they came out into the exhibit.  Would they dig? OH MY GOODNESS DID THEY DIG! It’s amazing what those four inch claws can do. Would you believe a hole over four feet deep and six feet across in thirty minutes!  The keepers are going to be busy every morning filling in their handy work. Yet how rewarding for us to give these amazing creatures that opportunity.


There are many other features of this new exhibit that will enhance the husbandry and welfare for the grizzlies, but I will let the keeper staff share those with you while you are visiting. There will even be a special opportunity that on occasion you may be able to participate in. I won’t give away that surprises here, though.


For me, the most exciting thing about the new exhibit is how close you the guest will get to experience the grizzlies. The old exhibit kept the bears at a distance that did not allow a full appreciation as to just how BIG these animals are. I can hardly wait to see and hear the reactions when you first get nose to nose with one of these big, bold and beautiful grizzly bears.

About Barb Snyder

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Barb Snyder, General Curator, has been with John Ball Zoo for 25 years.    She oversees the zookeepers and the animal care for the entire collection as well as plans for future acquisitions.  

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