Andean Bear Immortalized at the Salisbury Zoo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Andean Bear Immortalized at the Salisbury Zoo

Posted: May 14, 2018 6:32 PM Updated:


SALISBURY, Md.- A mound of clay, now being brought to life at the Salisbury Zoo. Artist and sculptor, David Turner, is the mastermind behind the new piece that will honor Gritto, the zoo's Andean bear that died in 2015.

Gritto lived at the Salisbury Zoo since 2003 and is described by zoo employees as an inherently sweet bear.

A donation made by Dr. Al and Ruth Beattie, will now immortalize the friendly, furry face.

The statue depicts Gritto climbing on a tree branch. Towering over 6 feet tall and ultimately weighing roughly 350 pounds, creating the bronze piece is no small feat.

"It's been over a year to get to this point now," Turner explained.
           
Beneath the clay is an internal support of foam and wire. When the model is complete, it'll be cut.

"I'll cut a number of pieces apart and then we'll make a rubber mold around the model. So his head will be cut off, this arm will be cut off. This piece will probably be 8-10 pieces," Turner said.

The rubber molds will then be made into wax castings, then the wax is then dipped into ceramic liquid, a process that takes about a week. Turner then will melt down bricks of bronze, and pour it into the ceramic molds to eventually get his works of art.

"It'll be a good photo op, and it's going to be pretty close to the Spectacle Bear exhibit," Turner said.

The Gritto statue will go across from the exhibit that currently holds Pinocchio and Chaska, the Andean bears. Those who work at the zoo say they couldn't be more excited for the artwork.

"He [Gritto] was a very special bear and I feel like he's often been overshadowed in the media by many of the other bears, so it's kind of nice to let him get his day," said Salisbury Zoo Collection Manager Ian Shelley.

 

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