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Memphis Zoo Keeper Travels to Canada to See Wild Polar Bears

MEMPHIS, TENN. - Gail Karr, Memphis Zoo Assistant Curator of Mammals, will travel to the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, October 6-13 for a week-long Keeper Leadership Camp sponsored by Polar Bears International (PBI), the world's leading polar bear conservation group.

The Memphis Zoo selected Karr based on her past outreach and community involvement. She joins 10 other zoo and aquarium professionals from across the United States and Canada.

"Zoo keepers have the ability to reach a wide audience with a conservation message" said Kathryn Foat, PBI's Vice President of Conservation Education and Stewardship strategies. "Participants will spend a week in Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, during the fall polar bear migration, where they will learn about polar bears, climate change and how each of us can help."

The experience includes several nights at the Tundra Buggy (r) Lodge, with polar bears just outside. Despite the remote location, participants will be able to stay connected with the rest of the world through blog posts on the PBI website.

Gail's posts can be seen on the Zoo's website at www.memphiszoo.org/tundratracks.

Participants will also learn how to create carbon-reduction programs in their communities and to inspire public involvement.

"Polar bears are one of the biggest conservation messages to the public," Karr said. "Everyone can do something. Just doing small things reduces global warming in big ways."

Karr is one of four participants who will also serve as Camp Facilitator. These individuals have additional responsibilities and play a leadership role during the week-long camp.

"I am excited about leading future arctic ambassadors," Karr said. "This is so exciting to go because I've always been involved with bears. Bears are one of my passions. They are magnificent creatures and so complex."

The Memphis Zoo was invited to send a representative to the camp because of its role as a PBI Arctic Ambassador Center. These centers educate the public about polar bears and climate change and play a leadership role in inspiring carbon reductions in their communities. They include more than 50 leading zoos, museums, science centers and aquariums in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

This is the second zoo keeper from the Memphis Zoo that has attended a PBI workshop in Churchill. In 2011, Tammy Hill, a zoo keeper in Northwest Passage and Teton Trek, completed the program.Stay connected to Gail's arctic experience on the Zoo's Facebook and Twitter pages.

About the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tenn., is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top five zoos in the country by TripAdvisor(r), the Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovation and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek and CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of the Memphis Zoo.

About Polar Bears International
Polar Bears International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, education, and stewardship. Visit their web site to learn more about their mission and the upcoming 2011 Leadership Camps at www.polarbearsinternational.org.Frontiers North's Tundra Buggy(r) Adventure (FNA) is a PBI Platinum-level corporate partner that has sponsored PBI Leadership Camps since their inception. FNA provides authentic adventures in Canada's north and boasts the best access in the world to wild polar bears. Visit their web site at www.frontiersnorth.com.

Posted by Zoo Info at 1:57 PM

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