Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to open new ‘Bear Hollow’ habitat

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced a new project today expanding and improving the tropical bear habitat.

“Bear Hollow” will include four new habitats located in the zoo’s Wilderness Trek, according to Cleveland Metroparks.

Opening in early summer 2023, the new space will transform the 50-year-old exhibit with more complex climbing structures, elevated resting areas and dig pits, said Cleveland Metroparks.

They said that this project will nearly triple the size of the former space, as well as enhance viewing of the animals and animal care efforts with Andean and sloth bears.

The new and improved habitat will include glass viewing areas for guests, an immersive treehouse for guests to have nearly 360-degree views and a separate viewing area for guests to see animal care staff training up close, according to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

“Our Andean and sloth bears are incredible ambassadors for their vulnerable counterparts in the wild,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director. “The new Bear Hollow will be transformational for our guests and, more importantly for our bears, and will provide future opportunities for our Zoo to play a role in sustaining these important species.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature have listed both Andean and sloth bears as vulnerable species, according to Cleveland Metroparks.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo said they are working with Andean Bear Conservation Alliance to help conserve Andean bears in the wild.

They conduct research and training through ABCA, the zoo said, helping to create and implement bear monitoring programs and support development of Andean bear conservation plans.

They said the approximately $7.7 million project, supported by $3.5 million from the Cleveland Zoological Society including a leadership gift from a long-term donor, will begin construction next month.

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Maddi Hebebrand

Maddi Hebebrand

Maddi joined Cleveland 19 News as a Digital Content Producer in May 2022.