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February 13, 2018 > Rescued bears get new home

Rescued bears get new home

Submitted By Erin Harrison

The first animal arrivals of Oakland Zoo?s upcoming California Trail, a mother Black bear and her three cubs rescued last summer, have been successfully introduced to their newly-built, 1.5-acre habitat at the Zoo?s new California Trail expansion, opening to the public in June 2018. The bears have been living temporarily in Oakland Zoo?s veterinary hospital since last June while their new habitat was being constructed.

Zookeepers and vet staff were delighted when the bear family took their first steps into the expansive 1.5-acre Black bear habitat completed earlier this month. The bears, tentative for the first few minutes, quickly appeared to be enjoying their new surroundings, exploring, playing, swimming and climbing trees, where they also enjoy napping. Black bears are known to be great climbers, not typical of all bear species.

While the public cannot yet see the bears in person until the June opening of California Trail, live-cams have been installed at the Black bear habitat and are online at - black-bear-cam

?Seeing our Black bears bounding through their new habitat that first day, exploring their new home, swimming, foraging, playfully wrestling with each other was such a great pleasure. Providing these bears a rich life in a complex natural habitat is what we set out to do, and I think we?re doing a good job accomplishing that goal,? said Heather Paddock, one of the primary zookeepers of the Black bears at Oakland Zoo.

In addition to their new habitat, the bears have 24-hour access to their night house, complete with shower features, five dens, skylights, and radiant floor heat.

Zookeepers stock the dens with hay for bedding, which on one night, the bears decided to push all into a single den so they could sleep together. The live webcams, viewable on the Oakland Zoo website, show the bears going out for what zookeepers are now calling ?midnight pool parties? as well.

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