CT’s Beardsley Zoo breaks new ground in Andean bear habitat

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BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut – The Connecticut Beardsley Zoo is pleased to announce the official opening of a spacious new habitat for Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus), once again welcoming a species that was part of the zoo’s animal collection in 2011. The bears will join the zoo when habitat construction is complete, scheduled for spring 2022.

Andean bears are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) SAFE (Save Animals from Extinction) program, which focuses the collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums on the recovery of endangered species. . Native to the Andes and outlying mountain ranges, the bear conservation status is classified as vulnerable, with a declining population in the wild.

Beardsley Connecticut Zoo board members, zoo staff, representatives from the Diversity Construction Group (DCG) and dignitaries will come together for a groundbreaking event for the zoo’s newest habitat on Thursday July 29 at 11 a.m.

“The Beardsley Connecticut Zoo continues to grow, allowing us to expand our mission of animal conservation and education. We are delighted to welcome the Andean bears to the zoo once again as a new chapter in the history of the diversity and richness of life in South America, ”said Gregg Dancho, zoo director.

“Our sincere thanks to the State of Connecticut for helping fund our new home,” added Dancho. Thank you also to our dedicated staff, board of directors and volunteers.

The Andean bear’s new habitat will be considerably larger than the bear’s habitat ten years ago. The bears needed a larger enclosure, so the zoo chose to move them to a more suitable facility. The new Andean bear habitat will include a landscaped outdoor courtyard offering multiple opportunities for climbing and social behavior. The work is performed by Diversity Construction Group LLC.

Nomination opportunities for major donors are still available. Interested parties can contact Jessica Summers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 203-394-6573.

About the Andean bears

Also called Spectacled Bears for the whitish or cream “glasses” that surround the eyes of these bears, each individual has a unique set of markings. Each Spectacled Bear has its own “fingerprint” of distinct cream or whitish markings on the head, throat and chest. The brands also give the bear its scientific name: Tremarctos ornatus, or decorated bear. Bears are 5-6 feet long and 2-3 feet tall at the shoulder. Males can weigh up to 340 pounds. Females reach around 180 pounds. The spectacle bear is one of the most endangered bear species in the world, with the most endangered being the giant panda, which is today their closest living relative. The females are called “Cows”, the males are called “Boars” and the young are called “Cubs”.

About Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut

Let your curiosity run free! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99e year, includes 350 animals representing mainly species from North and South America and North Asia. Customers won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves and red wolves. Other highlights include the Spider Monkey Habitat, Rainforest Building, Prairie Dog Exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant Anteaters and Chaco Peccaries. You can get on the carousel, grab a bite to eat at the Peacock Café, and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a nonprofit approaching its 100e year at a time when the mission to help wildlife populations and fragile ecosystems is more important than ever.

Tickets must be purchased on the zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org; guests who take advantage of the Connecticut Free Kids Program must also make reservations online. Per Connecticut State COVID-19 Guidelines: We recommend that guests continue to wear masks when visiting the zoo, but when guests are outside and can maintain social distancing, masks may be withdrawn. In any indoor space, or where social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Anyone over the age of two, except those whose medical conditions prevent them from being worn, should have a mask available.


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