Media Invited to See Arctic Fox at Polar Frontier
Media Alert: Thursday, April 22, 2010
Associate Zoo Director, Community Relations
WHAT: The media is invited to preview the Columbus Zoo’s Arctic fox in their outdoor habitat at Polar Frontier which opens to the public on May 6, 2010. The polar bear underwater viewing area and Polar Playground will also be available to preview.
WHO: Four Arctic fox are now in their new home in Polar Frontier. Two-year-old brother and sister, Ice and Anana, came to the Columbus Zoo from the Detroit Zoo. One-year-old brothers, Cassius and Brutus, came from the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL. All four arrived at the Columbus Zoo in February and were moved to Polar Frontier today.
WHEN: The media is invited to see the Arctic fox, as well as the polar bear underwater viewing area and Polar Playground, on Friday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Media should come to the Zoo’s Business Office located on Jerry Borin Trace north of the Zoo. Zoo staff will be available to assist with getting everyone to the habitat and arrange interviews. Please call in advance so we can escort you to the habitat as quickly as possible.
WHY: Polar Frontier represents a long-abandoned mining town and will draw guests into the Arctic Circle; connecting them to the animals that live in some of the coldest climates in the world including polar bears, brown bears and Arctic fox.
The Arctic fox habitat, made possible by a financial gift from the Ed and Ellen Klopfer family, represents a garden shed that sits against the abandoned mine and includes an outdoor yard and indoor den with visitor viewing at both locations.
Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) are specially adapted for life on the tundra. Their fur changes twice a year; in the summer they are brown and gray and in winter they are snowy white and their paws are sheathed in dense fur for warmth. Keen hearing allows them to sense prey moving under the snow and they pounce in the air to punch through the snow and grab small mammals such as lemmings, voles and squirrels. In the winter their diet switches to invertebrates, sea birds, fish and seals.
The Polar Playground, presented by Nationwide Insurance who also provided support for the outdoor bear habitats, gives kids an opportunity to play while parents relax and enjoy their “cool” surroundings. Kids can begin their make believe Arctic adventure by checking the forecast from inside the weather station then sliding down to a tundra buggy to drive to their destination. After departing the tundra buggy they can hop from one piece of sea ice to another to areas where they can build an igloo, slide down a snow bank with a polar bear family or play on an icy teeter-totter. A child-friendly zip line allows kids to soar beneath a flock of snow geese flying overhead.
The polar bear habitat features a 1.32-acre yard with two pools including a still pool that is 167,000 gallons and offers viewing of the bears from above, at eye-level, and below. The other pool is a surge pool with a tidal effect with various depths and moving water. Dig pits and smell ports also provide enrichment.
The $20-million Polar Frontier experience is made possible due to the generosity of Franklin County residents and funds raised through a county property tax levy as well as corporate and private contributions. In addition to the support received from the Ed and Ellen Klopfer family and Nationwide Insurance, financial gifts were received from Battelle and the David C. Goss family.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is open 363 days of the year 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Memorial Day weekend and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. General admission is $12.99 for adults, $7.99 for children ages 2 to 9 and seniors 60+. Children under 2 and Columbus Zoo members are free. The Zoo was named the #1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA.) For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org