February 16, 2010
Contact: Sondra Katzen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago Zoological Society’s Spring Lecture Series Features Inspiring Talks on Iconic Animals in Brookfield Zoo’s New Great Bear Wilderness Exhibit
Brookfield, IL—Great Bear Wilderness—the newest exhibit at Brookfield Zoo—will open to the public on May 8, 2010. The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) will present four inspiring lectures that highlight some of the iconic animals featured in the exhibit—polar bears, grizzly bears, bald eagles, and bison—as well as the Great Plains. Great Bear Wilderness¾which also will feature ravens and Mexican gray wolves already exhibited at Regenstein Wolf Woods¾will connect zoo guests to these charismatic animals on a deeper level by inspiring them to help conserve, protect, and restore wildlife and their habitats by making environmentally friendly choices in their daily lives.
On Monday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m., the first lecture, “Polar Bears: The Disappearing North American Icon,” will be presented by Robert Buchanan, president and CEO of Polar Bears International and the 2010 recipient of the Society’s George B. Rabb Conservation Medal for his role in educating people about polar bears. The following evening, March 2, Buchanan will receive the medal at CZS’s annual Conservation Dinner, which will be held at The Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
In the last five years, more than two million square miles of Arctic ice that polar bears need for hunting, breeding, and denning has been lost. According to experts, less ice means that most polar bears will be gone by 2050. During his informative talk, Buchanan will discuss how the next few years are the most crucial time for saving these magnificent carnivores.
Polar Bears International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears and their habitat through research and education. PBI also provides scientific resources and information on polar bears and their habitat to all interested parties. With that mission, PBI has attracted some of the world’s finest scientists, zoologists, land management professionals, ecotour operators, educators, government agencies, and other organizations that provide guidance for the most urgently needed projects.
Under Buchanan’s leadership, PBI has grown into an organization with an international scope, supporting projects throughout the circumpolar North and reaching audiences as far away as Japan and Australia with its conservation message. Funding provided by PBI helped support research that led to the listing of polar bears as a threatened species by the U.S. government. Scientists now predict that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could vanish by 2040 if current warming trends caused by global warming continue.
Most recently, PBI signed a Memo of Understanding with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that will introduce educational materials about polar bear conservation and climate change into all AZA zoos. It also encourages the regular exchange of research between zoologists and scientists who study polar bears in the wild—the first time an agreement has been reached for this type of critical information-sharing.
The remaining lectures in the spring series are:
All lectures are held 7:30 p.m. in Brookfield Zoo’s Discovery Center and are followed by a wine and cheese reception. The cost is $16 per person ($13 for zoo members). For more information or to make reservations, go to www.CZS.org/LectureSeries or call (708) 688-8971.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Brookfield Zoo is open every day of the year. The zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.
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