Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage Showcases Alaska Animals
While Kodiak cubs are leaving in May, center has plans for expansion
PORTAGE - In Portage there's a lot of activity at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
Workers have started building the first stage of a new multi-million dollar bear exhibit, even as they are getting ready to say good-bye to two cubs. For the last year these Kodiak cubs have been the main attraction at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – especially at feeding time.
The orphaned cubs named Shaguyik (that's the female) and Taquoka (the male) were nine months old when they arrived at the center. They have different mothers and somewhat different personalities.
But something the cubs share in common is cuteness, and now at two years old, they are eager to show off the tricks they've learned as part of their training.
The real idea is to keep the bears busy and their minds active so they don't succumb to boredom in captivity – which wont be a problem soon. The cubs are headed to Sweden, where they will have acres and acres to roam in a special exhibit built just for them.
But there is also construction right here – workers are building an elevated boardwalk so that visitors will get a better view of the resident bears who live at the center. The walkway should be finished by late spring.
The center has other animals, and projects as well. One of the better known is a breeding program for wood bison, the majestic animals are the largest land mammals in the western hemisphere – and the conservation center is the only place in the country where you'll see them.
Then there are the more common critters.
Their orphaned moose calves have been brought up bottle fed, and are also very fond of bananas – peels and all.
It's a great place to see Alaska animals just a short drive down the road.
The conservation center plans to build a multi-million dollar bear exhibit, but that is still a few years down the road.
As for the cubs, they are set to leave for their new home in Sweden, but that's not until the end of May so you still have time to see them.
The Alaska Conservation Center in Portage is open to visitors 7 days a week.