By Joe Veyera
A trio of sloth bears at the Woodland Park Zoo will make their last public appearance for nearly a year as construction begins to rebuild their home in the zoo’s new Asian tropical forest exhibit complex.
July 6 will mark the final day that sloth bear mother Tasha (pictured) — who has lived at the zoo for three years — and her two 18-month old cubs Randhir and Kushali will be in the exhibit, with the trio living off exhibit during construction.
The sloth bears’ current space and the zoo’s former tiger exhibit will be recreated to provide two new homes for the sloth bears and new Malayan tigers, with the new exhibit expected to debut May 2015. The new exhibit is three times the size of the bears and tigers’ current homes.
The construction is phase two of the Asian tropical forest exhibit complex. Phase one construction of the Bamboo Forest Reserve began in September 2012 and was completed in May of last year, and is now home to Asian small-clawed otters, a tropical aviary and a kids’ nature play area.
The project is the final initiative of the zoo’s More Wonder More Wild Campaign, which ultimately raised $83.5 million.
Sloth bears are an endangered species, and fewer than 10,000 remain in the wild in their native countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
To learn more about the new sloth bear exhibit, click here.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo