Big Bear Alpine Zoo moving to bigger location

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Mountain lions are on the move and geese are going places! The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is relocating to a new site, a space that will be better for animals and visitors alike. (KABC)

Mountain lions are on the move and geese are going places! The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is relocating to a new site, a space that will be better for animals and visitors alike.

Animals of all kinds call the Big Bear Alpine Zoo home - bears, wolves, mountain lions, raccoons, snow leopards and owls.

Despite all that's offered here at one of only two Alpine Zoos in the country, there is one small problem.

"Space, we're limited by space," said Bob Cisneros, the zoo's curator.

Cisneros says while many of these enclosures are bigger than they were a few years ago, as soon as the animals move to a larger facility that's being constructed just down the street, they'll have much more room to roam.

"To be in the sun, to be the shade, to be on the rocks, to be in the sand, to be in a burrow or be outside, to climb, to not climb - so the more space you have, the more opportunities that they have for choice and control," Cisneros said.

A map of the project shows the difference. The current zoo is 2.5 acres. After the move, it'll be more than 10 acres.

At the new facility, the grizzly bears will be right next door to the wolves, something that's just not possible right now.

"We'll do it in a controlled basis, but in the wild they coexist, so what that will do is provide opportunities for the wolves to be as mischievous as they normally are in the wild, and for bears to do what bears do," Cisneros said.

"Growing up here, seeing this little place from a mom-and-pop shop growing into what it's really become, I'm just so proud and excited to be a part of it," said Robert Smith, a zoo employee.

Weather permitting, they're hoping to have the new Big Bear Alpine Zoo open by the end of 2017.
Related Topics:
petszooanimalsSan Bernardino CountyBig Bear Lake
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