Bonnie, the Black Bear at the Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo, received a new piece of furniture Monday when DJ’s Tree Service delivered the remains of a huge maple tree. Because the City of Great Bend does not own a crane, Stone Sand Company donated use of the crane that lifted the hollow tree trunk over the fence and dropped it into the exhibit.
Zoo Curator Sara Hamlin said the owner of the tree service cut down the tree almost a year ago and told her, “I thought it would just be perfect for the zoo.”
Bonnie, who is 13 years old, stayed inside while all of the commotion was going on.
The piece is about 5 and a half feet in diameter, which means it’s large enough for Bonnie to crawl inside and use as a den. She didn’t do that immediately, however. “She’s still investigating it,” Hamlin said.
“We’re hoping it will make her feel more comfortable on exhibit,” the curator continued.
A video of the crane moving the log is posted on the Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo Facebook page.
A new face
The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. Entry is through the Raptor Center, where a new employee, Jennifer Uridel, has joined the guest relations team.
Uridel moved here from Colorado about a year ago with her husband and three children. They’d only been in town a couple of days when they visited the Main Street Pizza Hut, where an employee recommended the zoo. They fell in love with it immediately, she said.
In addition to her part-time job at the zoo, Uridel works part-time at Game Stop and is a full-time student at Barton Community College. She is a freshman who plans to major in elementary education with a minor in history.
Grady Bolding, who previously served as the greeter at the Raptor Center, has accepted a different part-time job with the zoo’s maintenance crew. That move from the desk to working outdoors was something he chose, and he said the recent ice storm didn’t cause him to second-guess his decision. “Life is now officially interesting,” Bolding said.