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No more Trouble: Duluth zoo's star brown bear will be moved to sanctuary

DULUTH, Minn. - After next week, there will be no more Trouble at the Lake Superior Zoo.Trouble, an Alaskan brown bear who has been a popular part of the Duluth zoo since 2000, will be permanently moved to a bear sanctuary next week, zoo official...

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Visitors watch Trouble, the Lake Superior Zoo's brown bear, in May 2015. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com
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DULUTH, Minn. - After next week, there will be no more Trouble at the Lake Superior Zoo.

Trouble, an Alaskan brown bear who has been a popular part of the Duluth zoo since 2000, will be permanently moved to a bear sanctuary next week, zoo officials announced Thursday. It’s part of an ongoing process as the zoo undergoes an accreditation review and looks toward a proposed $15 million renovation.

The zoo’s current bear exhibit does not meet the latest standards of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, zoo officials said, so the zoo could not retain its accreditation if Trouble remained. Plans to renovate the zoo call for a larger brown bear exhibit. Trouble, who is 17 years old, came to the zoo in 2000 after he was caught breaking into the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, apparently in search of food. He’ll remain on display for another week, Lake Superior Zoo interim CEO Julene Boe said.

“Trouble has been a star at our zoo for a long time, and we know our community will want to say goodbye,” Boe said in a news release. “We naturally have mixed emotions about his departure. We will miss him, but we know he is leaving so we can do the work to retain our accreditation and make this a zoo with many new and interesting exhibits.

“It’s important for our zoo to maintain accreditation, and we want the best for Trouble. While it will be hard to see him go, our renovation calls for brown bears to be part of our new zoo. We look forward to continuing to educate our community about these amazing animals.”

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Trouble had been the only brown bear at the zoo since January 2015, when Phoebe the bear was euthanized at age 28 after being in poor health for an extended period of time.

The zoo’s staff had tried to find a temporary home for Trouble, but were unable to locate a facility to take the bear temporarily. A sanctuary was able to take Trouble permanently. The name and location of that facility were not released Thursday “at the request of the sanctuary,” zoo officials said. They reported that Trouble will live among other bears, and Boe said the zoo is pleased with the quality of life for animals at the facility.

Related Topics: LAKE SUPERIOR ZOO
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