A polar bear enjoys a dip inside the new exhibit at the Columbus Zoo.
SALISBURY, Md.- The director of the Salisbury Zoo couldn't be more excited about a new exhibit... more than 500 miles away!
Zoo Director Joel Hamilton tells WBOC that the media attention surrounding the new Polar Frontier exhibit at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio is good for zoos across the country, including the 13-acre facility he manages in Wicomico County.
"It has an effect," Hamilton said. "The goal here is environmental education."
After opening Thursday in Columbus, tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit Polar Frontier this weekend alone. The exhibit is styled after an abandoned mining town, and features a state-of-the-art artificial habitat for polar bears, Alaskan brown bears, and a pair of Arctic foxes. The polar bears will roam a 1.3 acre yard, and can spend their days hunting some of the hundreds of live fish that share a 167,000 gallon pool.
Hamilton said the polar bears are an effective attention-getter, specifically because of the continued debate over the effects of global climate change on world sea levels.
"Certainly, global climate change affects animals, and polar bears are one of those species," Hamilton said. "Utilizing those species to bring awareness to changes in our environment is important. Whether its polar bears in Ohio, or whitetail deer here in our own backyard in Salisbury, its all important."
The Salisbury Zoo is gearing up for a busy season of its own. Tickets are currently on sale for Zoobilation, a fundraiser which creates a block-party atmosphere within the zoo walls. The June 12th event features live entertainment, silent auctions, and food from more than a dozen local restaurants. Proceeds go towards building a new animal health clinic at the zoo.
Also starting in June, Zoo Camp programs begin, offering a variety of activities promoting wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship.
For information on all of the activities happening at the Salisbury Zoo, click here.