Gateway Gazette

Piece of Manitoba Tundra in Wisconsin Zoo

Retired Tundra Buggy becomes essential part of new Arctic Passage polar bear exhibit

Winnipeg, May 28, 2015 – For decades, people have been coming to Northern Manitoba to experience wild polar bears, and now a piece of the province’s history has been set in place to begin a new life in Madison, Wisconsin.

DSC_1107Frontiers North Adventures has partnered with Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo by providing an out-of-commission Tundra Buggy® to be part of the zoo’s new Arctic Passage polar bear exhibit. Tundra Buggy 5, also known as the Ice Maiden, which operated in Churchill from 1989 to 2008, has been refurbished and now plays an integral and interactive part in the new exhibit.

“Frontiers North Adventures is proud to have helped Buggy 5 find a new home at Henry Vilas Zoo, one of just 10 remaining free zoos in the North America. Her legacy will live on and help inspire a completely new generation of kids of all ages who may never have the opportunity to lock their gaze with a wild polar bear from a Tundra Buggy in Churchill,” said John Gunter, President and CEO at Frontiers North Adventures.

Tundra Buggy 5 helps Henry Vilas Zoo’s visitors imagine what it would be like to trundle along on the tundra in northern Manitoba and experience polar bears in their natural environment.

In the late 1980s, Buggy 5 was an essential part of the growing Tundra Buggy fleet. By 2002 she was retired from active ‘touring’ duty and in her later years, before being decommissioned, housed scientists and researchers on the tundra and helped Frontiers North Adventures accomplish important education and conservation goals.

DSC_1090Frontiers North Adventures, proprietors of the world-famous Tundra Buggies, operates a fleet of 13 Buggies which are used to bring people from around the world face-to-face with polar bears. The Buggies safari on an established network of trails that was created in the 1950s, minimizing negative impacts to the tundra while still being in the centre of a breathtaking landscape.

The long-awaited and much-anticipated 1.7 acre Arctic Passage exhibit, featuring polar bears, grizzly bears and seals is now open at Henry Vilas Zoo. About 22,000 guests visited the zoo for the exhibit’s opening weekend. It is home to twin two-and-a-half year old brother and sister polar bears, Sakari and Suka, part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums captive species breeding program. In addition to the polar bears, rescued orphaned grizzly bear sisters and the zoo’s resident harbor seals have found homes in the brand new exhibit, complete with interactive features such as an underwater viewing stations for both polar bears and seals, a flowing stream the grizzly bears can fish out of, and of course Tundra Buggy 5, complete with rumble seat that the kids are really enjoying.

For more information please visit frontiersnorth.com or vilaszoo.org

Frontiers North Adventures has been operating polar bear adventure tours in Churchill, Manitoba for more than three decades. They are committed to sustainable practices and working with researchers along with the people, animals and environment which make the north what it is. The company is family-owned and operated and aims to provide world-class tours and education to its guests.

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