This week, according to the CBC, the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg “temporarily” closed its underwater polar bear viewing tunnel after the bears chewed into some of the silicone sealant around the tunnel’s glass.
The zoo announced that the tunnel, which is part of the Journey to Churchill exhibit, is closed for repairs for at least one to two weeks. However, officials have yet to determine the full extent of the damage.
“We didn’t anticipate anything like this at all. They’ve been in that exhibit for now, what, 10 [or] 11 weeks without any incident of this nature,” said Don Peterkin, chief operations officer with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.
“It just shows you when you’re working with live animals anything can happen at anytime, and you just have to react accordingly.”
This marks the second hiccup at Journey to Churchill, which officially opened on July 3.
A week after the grand opening, some of the exhibit’s wolves dug out of their habitat and into the polar bears’ space. Staff had to reinforce the barrier that separates the bears from the wolves.
“When you open a new exhibit with the complexity that we have, you expect a few little glitches that you need to work on,” Peterkin said. “This idea of the bears thinking they could eat the silicone wasn’t one of them.”
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“Hiccup, my ass,” said Grwlr Blackfur, Chief Digger and Logistics Officer on Project FREE ME.
The wolves, intent on taking advantage of a GROUPON discount for the Churchill Express, had been working hard to enjoy the “Journey to Churchill”. But it was not to be.
“Polar bears this. Polar bears that. Ice melting. Extinction. Boo fucking hoo,” said Grwlr. “We’ve been shot almost into extinction and we were helping these fat bastards out. Look what they did to us! I’m never going to eat anyone’s Granny before Christmas!”
Officials at Assiniboine Park said they had to reinforce the barrier that separates the wolves from the polar bears, after the wolves dug underneath it and into the polar bears’ space overnight.
“11 weeks of planning, one night of digging, and then we lost everything,” Snrly Fursson admits.
Laura Cabak, a zoo spokesperson, said a barrier divided a large habitat into two sections, with female bears on one side and wolves on the other.
Cabak said when staff arrived Tuesday morning they found the wolves, “who are very good diggers,” had dug under the barrier and made it to the other side.
“IDIOTS!” shouted Grwlr and Snrly.
The male bears, Storm and Hudson, located in a different enclosure have been on exhibit the whole time.
“IDIOTS!” they shouted again.
The CBC reported that the wolves and Aurora and Kaska had to be moved out for repairs.
“There’s nothing wrong with them! It’s the fence that’s being repaired! Where in hell are the copy editors at the CBC?” the wolves yipped.
“These kinds of adjustments are absolutely normal with the opening of any new exhibit, especially one this complex,” said Don Peterkin, Chief Operations Officer with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in a news release.
“We had a couple of minor issues present themselves during the first few days after opening that needed to be addressed and we’ll likely see other areas that need attention as we move forward and are able to observe the exhibit day to day.”
All the exhibits are now open again and the animals are back in their own space, the zoo said.
When asked for further comment on the CBC story, the spokeswolves smiled and winked.
“Don’t write off those fucking meerkats, is all we’re saying.”
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With files from