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Worst Bear Grottos or Pits

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by MonkeyBat, 20 Jan 2020.

  1. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

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    As I'm sure you're aware bear grottos in a lot of zoos (including major ones) get pretty much forgotten. Often relics of the WPA (At least here in the USA), these areas are often ignored in zoos, which is sad since they really do need upgrades.

    So in your opinion, what's the worst one of these grottos or pits you've come across?
     
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  2. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    I've fortuinately never seen bear pits in person. While Toronto Zoo does have a concrete area for the polar bears (but as of this year, two walruses), it at least has two grassy and vegetated areas; the concrete exhibit is also a bit more spacious then most examples.

    The Lincoln Park Zoo had more proper bear pits, though I never got a chance to see or at least focus on them before they were renovated into the current Family Tundra exhibit.
     
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  3. Junklekitteb

    Junklekitteb Well-Known Member

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    I’ve never seen a true bear pit, but the concrete-chainlink monstrosity in my local zoo, thankfully now upgraded to have an outdoor area, used to come pretty close. It was basically a chain link hexagon, concrete floor, very little if any enrichment. It still seems to be used as a holding area, and one of the poor bears stuck inside was constantly pacing.
     
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  4. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    One of those intriguing pieces of ZooChat news that has made me think "how did I miss that?".
     
  5. Yi Qi

    Yi Qi Well-Known Member

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    You'd think the zoo would be doing more to promote this.
     
  6. marvinjonesIII

    marvinjonesIII Member

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    Fortunately the number of bear pits/grottoes in this country has been in steep decline in recent years with the dismissal of those in Saint Louis, Buffalo, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Madison and other places.
     
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  7. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Little Rock Zoo has some outdated grottoes and here are some photos from 2012:

    Sun Bear exhibit:

    [​IMG]

    Asiatic Black Bear exhibit:

    [​IMG]

    Buffalo Zoo's Spectacled Bear 'pit' from 2010 is no longer in existence due to the construction of Arctic Edge:

    [​IMG]

    Erie Zoo's Polar Bear 'pit' was awful when I was there in 2012...arguably the worst bear grotto that I've ever seen in visits to 520 zoos and aquariums around the globe. Thankfully it is also dramatically different these days.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Rayane

    Rayane Well-Known Member

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    12 years ago, maybe 13 or 14, I remember seing Bern's bear in their famous pit (Bern being the capital of Switzerland). Don't have pictures of it, but google Bern - Fosse aux ours. They now have a better habitat, but not too long ago they had a Middle-age exhibit, famous in Switzerland.
     
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  9. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

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    Little Rock's mock-rock look like my sculptures in clay class in 3rd grade...
    Erie's is physically revolting to look at...
     
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  10. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    It depends on your definition of 'worst'....
    From the visitor's side of the barrier or from the bears?
    Either way - check Sooty's picture on the gallery of Polars in Limburgse Zoo in 1995...
     
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  11. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

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    It looks like a sewer...
     
  12. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Indeed - what you see is exactly what it was like! I visited Limburgse about the same time. There was a row of these in a line, with several spp of bears. Limburgse featured heavily at the time, in anti-zoo coverage in the UK by the BBC - in both print and on TV.
     
  13. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The worst I have ever seen in person (thankfully long-gone) was the old Brown Bear exhibit at Highland Wildlife Park in the late 1980s and early 1990s - seen, incidentally, during my first ever zoo visit. For those familiar with the collection, it was located on perhaps a shade less than a quarter of what is now the snow leopard exhibit.

    [​IMG]

    This photograph, from memory, shows about a third of the overall exhibit.

    That said, it was nowhere near as bad as the Limburg example, nor several others I have encountered only in photographs!
     
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  14. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

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    At least they have vegetation. Granted very few of it, but they have some
     
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  15. Andrew Swales

    Andrew Swales Well-Known Member

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    Inevitably the older members on this site will be able to 'trump' the younger ones on this thread - at least I hope so!! I could list dozens which are equal or worse than those illustrated here. The list would increase incrementally with the age of the writer. Bears have been such major staple exhibits since animals were first kept in captivity; and before electric fencing, enclosures had to be very different to those being built today. Public expectations were different too, and the standards of any institution reflect the expectations of their era. In Victorian times the enclosures and pits not only had to contain the animals, but also inspire mastery of the 'ferocious wild' by colonial nations, in the eyes of visitors. I am not defending these exhibits, but they are a part of zoo history and should be explained. The most important question is how recently these were used, and if they still are.
     
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably the worst bear exhibit currently "in use" in a Western European zoo would have to be the infamous Sun Bear exhibit at Tierpark Berlin, which thankfully is being replaced in the imminent future:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's worth noting, incidentally, that the aforementioned HWP exhibit for Brown Bear was smaller even than the above outdoor exhibit for Sun Bear.
     
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  17. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    The poorest one I have seen (and which I think is still in use) is the one in Bratislava (picture by @devilfish ) :

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    This polar bear exhibit at Tallinn, thankfully now emptied, was the worst I ever saw in Europe (note they bred in here very, very recently).

    [​IMG]
    Luckily this very unprofessional zoo in Chengdu has moved site, although there is no guarantee the new enclosure will be any better.

    [​IMG]
    If you like a different flavour of bad then this pit from Macau was in use until 2018 when the last inhabitant died.
     
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  19. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

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    This bear pit was built in year 1960 and shows its age.
    The zoo is collecting money for a new bear enclosure. They will basically fence around a piece of forest within zoo areal, of the size of two football playfields. Construction works should start this year.
     
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