The International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) officially opened at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo on Monday.
The $4.5 million centre will serve as the home to injured or orphaned polar bears needing care, and is a key component of the new 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit currently under construction.
The zoo has been without a polar bear since the beloved Debby died in 2008. Since then, the zoo hasn’t been able to retain another bear because its enclosure did not meet current standards.
A large public education component is located in the front the IPBCC, where visitors can learn about the polar bear species and the impact of global warming on its survival. A multimedia rich interpretive gallery includes interviews, interactive games, touchable objects, and interpretive signage about polar bears, researchers, and climate change.
“The IPBCC is going to change the way the Assiniboine Park Zoo is able to contribute to and participate in the worldwide research community,” said Margaret Redmond, president and CEO of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “This facility will also allow us to elevate the public’s awareness of critical climate change and environmental issues.”
The rest of the Journey to Churchill exhibit is expected to open in late 2013.