Posted: August 25, 2023
Susie’s Bear Hollow, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s new state-of-the art tropical bear habitat, is now open. The re-imagined immersive space located in the Zoo’s Wilderness Trek destination is home to the zoo’s male Andean bear and male and female sloth bears.
Bear Hollow includes significantly larger and more complex habitats for the animals. The four new habitats triple the size of the former 60-year-old space and incorporate features that encourage bears’ natural behaviors including climbing structures, elevated resting areas and dig pits. Enhancements behind-the-scenes will also include multi-level resting areas to better support nesting bears.
“The immersive design of Bear Hollow will bring our guests closer to bears than ever before and help them to foster a deeper connection with these ambassador animals,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director. “Up-close viewing opportunities will also give guests a closer look at the work of our animal care team’s husbandry efforts as they monitor the health of the bears and provide training opportunities.”
New glass viewing opportunities allow guests to get nose-to-nose with the bears and an immersive treehouse provides guests with nearly 360-degree views of the habitats. Centered in the treehouse is a one-of-a-kind climbing structure that allows children to climb up like the bears and offers unique viewing into the habitats below. A separate viewing area allows for up-close views of animal care and veterinary staff as they conduct training and health and husbandry monitoring of the bears.
Guest can watch the bears explore the new space at night during the Asian Lantern Festival, extended through September 16 and during the Wild Ride September 17.
Today’s Bear Hollow opening also marks the official debut of KeyBank AdventureKeys. The habitat is one of several featured locations throughout the Zoo where guests can unlock special video messages from the Zoo’s team of animal keepers using a collectable key.
Both Andean and sloth bears are listed as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is working to help conserve Andean bears in the wild through our Andean Bear Conservation Alliance (ABCA) by conducting research and training to implement bear monitoring programs and helping to develop Andean bear conservation plans. Over the past 10 years, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has contributed over $700,000 to Andean bear conservation and the program continues to expand.
The total project cost was $8.5 million and was funded in part by Cleveland Zoological Society, which provided $3.5 million.