After Nearly 9 Years, New Home for Brown Bears and Otters

After nearly 9 years of being closed, the Lake Superior Zoo’s Bear Country Exhibit is finally finished and is the home for two brown bears and two otters.

DULUTH, Minn. – A major exhibit is now finished after being closed for nearly a decade at the Lake Superior Zoo.

After nearly 9 years of being closed, the Lake Superior Zoo’s Bear Country Exhibit is finally finished and is the home for two brown bears and two otters.

The exhibit was a more than $3.8 million investment.

It closed after the flood of 2012 after a culvert got plugged up with debris as water started to come through Kingsbury Creek, eventually flooding the zoo and killing 14 animals.

The floodwater damaged the homes of Berlin the polar bear, harbor seals, and the river otters.

Since the flood, the space has sat empty.

The zoo had to revamp everything because of this.

Previously, the space for the bears was three smaller exhibits but management decided to break down the walls in between to create a much larger habitat for the two-year-old bears, Tundra and Banks, whose mother was killed after getting hit by a car in the wild.

Finally being able to get this exhibit open and being able to remind people that your zoo is full again,” said Lizzy Larson, the primary carnivore keeper at Lake Superior Zoo. “Your zoo has all of those animals that you’ve missed before.”

The otter exhibit was also destroyed in the flood – two otters were in the exhibit previously but had passed away from old age since then. There are now two young boys Logan and Brule who have high energy and are super interactive.

“We’re able to have a really outdoor-based experience so a lot of people feel safe,” said Haley Cope, the CEO of the Lake Superior Zoo. “And we’re going to continue that throughout the summer as tourists come back into the city of Duluth and community feels more safe entering into our spaces. We’re going to keep doing that.”

The zoo is currently opened from 10 to 3 from Fridays to Sundays in February. It will be open from 10 to 4 Thursday to Sunday beginning to March.

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