19-23 is Bear Awareness Week, and on Saturday, May 24, the Memphis Zoo will be
celebrating with a fun-filled day of bear events and information.
week there have been blogs on the different bears that currently call Memphis
their home. This then leads us to the last bear species, the
American black bear, which is actually the species that started it all for the
Memphis Zoo. Back in 1906, the Memphis Zoo started out with a black bear,
the Zoo is home to three black bears. “River” is our only male, and
the tallest and longest of the three. “Spring,” River’s sister, is
more black and a little larger then our other female. “Fire,”
depending on the time of year, shows off a red coat and is the
shortest. They can be found in Northwest Passage, just past the
underwater viewing building.
Spring enjoys the pool in her enclosure.
black bear is a medium-sized bear, and despite its name, can be black, blue-gray,
blue-black, brown, cinnamon or even (rarely) white. They are North
America’s smallest and most widely-distributed bear species. It is
also the species of bear that one could encounter right here in Tennessee.
Fire loves to climb the poles in her exhibit.
you make it out to the zoo on May 24, we will help you learn how to be bear
smart. Black bears are very opportunistic eaters. In the
wild their diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, insects, fish and
meat. They can, however, easily develop a taste for human food and
garbage. This can be trouble for both humans and the
bears. Making sure all garbage is placed in a bear proof garbage
container near bear populated areas, and setting up your camp,not to attract
bears can help keep the bear and the humans safe.
at the Zoo, our bears get a diet filled with different fruits and
veggies. Plus they get an omnivore chow, which is similar to a dog
food, but made for bears. And they get a little fish
too. They enjoy the different fruits they are offered, since they
contain natural sugars. Corn on the cob is also one of their
sure you stop by and see our black bears tomorrow. Better yet, swing
by at 11:30 a.m. for the scavenger hunt. Keepers will be hiding
different food and enrichment (toys) for the bears to find. Will you
be able to spot the different items before the bears get to it? Come
see the bears search, climb and maybe even swim to get to their favorite
Karen Warda, zookeeper