Guests at Ecomuseum Zoo wake up…
by John Symon
The black bears at the Ecomuseum Zoo (EZ) on the West Island came out of hibernation on Tuesday, March 1 this year. The weather office had predicted up to 30cm of snow in Montreal that night, but the storm failed to materialize. Instead, the bears came out to say that winter is over.
“While March 1 is not quite a record, this is one of the earliest dates that the bears have come out,” said communications director Émilie Sénécal. “On March 1, our two bears, Juno and Genie, played a lot with each other. The bears have been hibernating since January, but most winters they start their hibernation in December. We expect that our raccoons will also soon wake up from their hibernation.”
“The bears’ coming out is the surest sign that cold weather is behind us,” David Rodrigue, Executive Director at EZ has told us in previous years. “There might be some more snow, but not really cold weather. Some years, the bears did not come out until mid April.”
Unlike ceremonies where groundhogs such as “Punxsutawney Phil” supposedly predict early or late springs, nobody pushes the 200-lb bears outside; they decide on the date when they wake up. Ecomuseum staff merely open the door to the outside. Rodrigue has noticed a trend in recent years with spring arriving weeks earlier in Montreal than was the pattern when the EZ first began keeping records in the 1980s. He attributes this to climate change.
There will be special programming at the Ecomuseum for the Easter weekend (March 26-27) with an Easter egg hunt, face painting,
The EZ is home to more than 115 species of local fauna and is open all year round, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This largely outdoor facility is located at 21125 chemin Sainte-Marie in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Until March 21, adult admission is discounted at $12.50. For more information, telephone the EZ at 514-457-9449 or visit www.zooenville.ca.