The Museum of Life and Science, home to four rescued American Black Bears, will celebrate National Bear Awareness Week with special free programming highlighting the care, training and behavior of the Museum’s Black Bears and the important role the Museum plays in rescue efforts from Sunday, May 12 through Saturday, May 18, 2013.
Each year the Museum of Life and Science offers public programs as part of National Bear Awareness Week which dispels misconceptions and educates the public about American Black Bears, as well as seven additional bear species living throughout the world.
The Museum plays an instrumental role in rescue efforts, hosting four American Black Bears in the Museum’s Explore the Wild exhibit that would not have survived in the wild. The exhibit features a natural setting, with a waterfall, rock formations and live trees for climbing. Visitors are invited to get an up- close look using two remote-controlled zoom cameras.
Meet Our Bears
Mimi – Born in 2004, Mimi was confiscated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alabama and transferred to Appalachian Bear Rescue where she was deemed too friendly to be rehabilitated and re-released into the wild. Ariving at the Museum on April 10, 2006, Mimi is known by animal keepers and guests for her apparent love of the water and on a hot summer day can often be found swimming through the pool in the bear exhibit.
Virginia – Born in 2005 and orphaned as a cub, Virginia was hand fed by an individual who rescued her and determined by Virginia Wildlife officials to be too tame to safely release into the wild. She arrived at the Museum on June 2, 2005. The white “V” shaped blaze on her chest helps guest to identify her when amidst the other three bears at the Museum’s exhibit and she is often the first bear in the pool when watermelons are tossed in as treats.
Gus – Born in 2006, Gus was found by a fisherman along a trail at Briery Branch Lake and relocated to the Museum by Virginia Wildlife officials who determined he was not a good candidate for release. Gus is the largest and tallest of the bears and is regularly seen next to the pool seemingly waiting for Virginia to come out with a watermelon for him to “steal.”
Yona – Born in 2009, Yona was relocated from the Appalachian Bear Rescue after it was discovered she enjoyed the companionship of people a little too much for release back into the wild. Yona arrived at the Museum on January 15, 2010 and is now the youngest and smallest bear here. In keeping with the behavior of younger bears, Yona can often be spotted chasing the other bears around the exhibit.
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