The Salisbury Zoo and the Hertrich Family of Automobile Dealerships are partnering to bring a new bear to the Salisbury Zoo! Male Andean Bear Pinocchio is scheduled to make the journey from Ecuador sometime next month and will join the bear exhibit with community favorite, female Andean Bear Chaska. Hertrich, who is sponsoring the bear and providing his transportation, has been working with the zoo for over a year now to plan for Pinocchio’s arrival. The arrival of Pinocchio is part of a conservation effort that will hopefully bring international attention to the Salisbury Zoo and lead to bear cubs on Delmarva.
Pinocchio is a rescue bear. He was taken from the wild illegally and rescued by the Ministry of the Environment in Ecuador. Ultimately conservation biologists determined that, because of the young age at which he was taken from the wild, he was not likely to survive if he were released. The Salisbury Zoo has offered to provide a home for Pinocchio in the hopes that he will make a good companion for our female bear. Together they can provide new genetic material to the captive bear population. Thanks to the generous support of Hertrich, the Salisbury Zoo was able to meet the substantial cost of transporting an Andean bear, and Pinocchio will soon be on his way to his forever home.
Talk of Pinocchio coming to Delmarva started about the same time that Hertrich joined the Salisbury community with the addition of their Hertrich Buick GMC of Salisbury dealership at the end of 2016. When Hertrich contacted the zoo to see how they could help, they found out that they weren’t the only ones looking to join the community and immediately volunteered to provide transportation of the bear to Salisbury.
“As a partner in the community we see great value in the Salisbury Zoo and the impact it has on the education of young people,” says Regional Vice President Matt Kugle. “We felt sponsoring Pinocchio the Andean Bear would be a great way of demonstrating that to the residents of Delmarva and also support the Salisbury Zoo.”
Mayor Jake Day said, “Thanks to this new partnership with our friends at Hertrich, the Salisbury Zoo will soon be home to another beautiful Andean bear. Since 1974, when longtime Zoo resident ‘Poopsie’ was sent to us from the Baltimore Zoo, our City has demonstrated loyalty and love for our Spectacled friends, and I’m excited to see that tradition continuing with ‘Pinocchio.’ We thank Hertrich for their sponsorship, and we’re happy to say ‘Welcome home, ‘Pinocchio!’”
Ever since the arrival of our first Andean bear 1974, Salisbury has proven to have a big heart for these majestic animals, and we’re happy to see the tradition continuing with Pinocchio.”
The process of transferring the bear from Ecuador to the United States is very complex requiring several international permits. The Zoo needed to determine that Pinocchio was an animal that would benefit the management of the captive population of Andean bears. Ecuador needed to be assured that Salisbury would be capable of providing appropriate care and support for their native animal. And all parties wanted to take steps that were beneficial to the sustainability of the world’s population of Andean bears.
Then comes the preparation for the actual transport. A crate had to be specially designed to have shift doors on both sides which can be connected to a wall and allow the animal to transfer safely.
The crate was shipped to Ecuador last week where trainers at the facility in Ecuador will begin to work with Pinocchio to get him comfortable with transferring to the crate. This process will take about 2-3 weeks. Once the bear is crate trained, two zookeepers from the Salisbury Zoo will travel to Ecuador where they will meet Pinocchio and learn about Ecuador’s Andean Bear Conservation Program that has led to Pinocchio coming to Delmarva. They will then escort the bear on a flight back to the Southern part of the United States and continue to make the journey all the way to Salisbury.
Once Pinocchio is at the Salisbury Zoo, he will undergo a quarantine under the watchful eye of the zoo veterinarians that will last approximately 30 days. From there, he will move to his new home and get settled in before finally being introduced to his new friend Chaska.
Pinocchio is expected to be on view for the public around the end of the year, but the arrival of the bear is only the beginning of the celebration. Keep an eye on both the Hertrich and Zoo websites and Facebook pages to hear more about how you can join us in welcoming Pinocchio to Delmarva.
WHO/WHAT: Mayor Jake Day, Salisbury Zoo leaders, and Representatives of the Hertrich Family of Automobile Dealerships will hold a joint press conference to announce details of the acquisition and transition of Andean Bear, “Pinocchio”, to the SBY Zoo.
WHEN: Thursday, October 26th, at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: In front of the Andean Bear exhibit at the Salisbury Zoo, 755 S Park Dr, Salisbury, MD 21804