They’ve built it – but in a way, the Assiniboine Park Zoo hopes the polar bear cubs don’t come.
On Monday, the zoo officially opened its brand-new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, the first attraction in what will become the sprawling Journey to Churchill exhibit, which is currently under construction.
The facility will serve as a rehabilitation centre for orphaned polar bear cubs. The centre is ready and willing to accept as many as a dozen cubs in brand-new, state-of-the-art enclosures, though it’s unlikely it will house that many.
There’s no way of knowing when an orphaned cub will be found – and from a conservation perspective, zookeepers hope it’s a rare occurrence.
"We really hope we don’t see any orphaned polar bear cubs, but realistically, it’s going to happen," said Zoo zoological director Tim Sinclair-Smith. "We could get one next week, we may not see anything until next year."
The conservation centre also features an interpretive centre filled with interactive videos exploring the impact of climate change on polar bear habitats and kid-friendly games.
Its tall windows will eventually look out over the rest of the Journey to Churchill exhibit, which will feature polar bears, arctic foxes, musk oxen and other animals native to northern Manitoba.
winnipeg is going in a good direction... in terms of building new attractions and upgrading others
this city is gettin a big boost man...