>This might be Martina, the zoo’s female bear (she has a partner named Fritz who was off somewhere, unless this is him). Martina was transferred out of a much smaller zoo somewhere, where she shared a smaller compound with two other females. When she first arrived at the Alpenzoo she paced back and forth for hours on end, and it took her some time to adjust to the space and all the different niches her new digs had to offer. Fritz is 22, Martina 17. It took them two years to warm up to each other.
The zoo’s inhabitants are all indigenous alpine species; for instance, vultures. You won’t find lions or elephants, but lynx, chamois, wildcats, bears, moose, wolves, and dozens of different species of reptiles, birds and fish. As much as zoos are not my thing, this one really does a lot of work with re-introducing native animals to the wild, replenishing fish stocks, sustainability studies, and creating habitats where the animals feel comfortable. The zoo lies on the side of a mountain (you’re walking up- and downhill a lot. Wear comfortable shoes!); that and careful planning seem to put each area in its own little world, and not seem caged in (even though it is.)
Moose did once live in the lower-lying alpine regions, although today we associate them with the great white north. The first pair at the zoo was a gift from the King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden, and the moose were named, no joke, Carl Gustav and Silvia. Due to early support from Ikea, new additions to the herd had names like Billy and Ivar.
The mountain goat area is one of my favorites. There is a special viewing area for visitors which is practically right inside with the mountain goats; only a low wall separates them, and that’s to keep the visitors off the rocks. The goats, however, can walk on the wall or jump over it if they wish (and they did while I was there, but not for very long as they are a little skittery that close to humans.)
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