Moving Day for Pinocchio at SBY Zoo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Moving Day for Pinocchio at Salisbury Zoo

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 5:24 PM Updated:

SALISBURY, Md.- The Salisbury Zoo was closed Wednesday as keepers worked carefully to move its new Andean bear out of quarantine and into the bear exhibit.

In November, Pinocchio, a male Andean bear, was transported from Ecuador to Salisbury. The roughly 250-pound bear was discovered living on a farm without its mother when it was a cub. Because of how it was treated at a young age, it became imprinted on humans and was never able to be released into the wild.

Without a permanent home in Ecuador, officials in that country arranged to have Pinocchio relocated to the United States. The Salisbury Zoo was an ideal fit, as it currently has an Andean bear exhibit as well as a female. Chaska, with which zookeepers hope will become a companion and eventual mate for Pinocchio, thus also adding new genetic material into the captive bear population.

For the past two months, Pinocchio was staying in the hospital, standard procedure to ensure no diseases are spread when an new animal is brought in to the zoo.

On Wednesday, Pinocchio was put in his crate and transported to the exhibit where, this weekend, he will be introduced to the public. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m.

Pinocchio was moved temporarily moved to the maternity section of the bear enclosure.

"He's in that area right now. He's got a nice little den where I gave him a nice pile of hay and its heated in there," said Caleb Oliver of the Salisbury Zoo.  "And then, over the course of the next few days, we will gradually give him access to the exhibit where we can closely monitor him."

And during the entire move, Chaska was keeping a close eye on the proceedings, curious about her future mate.

"They'll be able to see each other from a distance.  Be in areas the other was just on and smell each other.  We'll gauge their reactions and determine a timeline for their introduction," Oliver said.

But the focus Wednesday was on Pinocchio and getting him ready for his big debut this weekend.  Along with Pinocchio's Welcome Party on Saturday, be sure to catch the half-hour long special, "Pinocchio's Journey to Delmarva," Thursday night at 7:30 on WBOC.


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