ELY – With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions for businesses, The North American Bear Center opened for the season this week, and the International Wolf Center is gearing up to reopen on …
ELY – With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions for businesses, The North American Bear Center opened for the season this week, and the International Wolf Center is gearing up to reopen on Monday, June 22.
“The Governor lifted the closed order for our type of business and we opened to visitors on Monday,” said Bear Center Senior Director Scott Edgett.
The North American Bear Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“There will be some restrictions in place and our visitor capacity will be limited to 25 percent or 65 people,” Edgett said. “Please be patient with us as we work through our new protocols. For your safety and ours, all our staff will be wearing masks/face coverings and we will be cleaning and sanitizing public spaces and places of contact frequently throughout the day.”
Hand sanitizer will be available for use by visitors.
“We also ask you to do your best with social distancing and maintain six feet between you and our other visitors,” he added.
Call the North American Bear Center at 877-365-7879 for more information.
“And please check our website, www.bear.org, often, as we update our programs and other Covid-19-related information,” Edgett said.
The International Wolf Center is set to open to the public starting Monday, June 22. The center has been closed since March because of the pandemic.
“We’ve heard from so many of our supporters who are eager to visit the Wolf Center and connect with our ambassador wolves, and we’re relieved to finally be able to announce our opening date,” said Grant Spickelmier, the center’s executive director.
Many changes are planned to ensure the safety of visitors and staff members and to comply with state guidelines. Admission tickets for the Wolf Center must be purchased online before arrival and limits will be placed on the number of visitors allowed in the facility at one time.
“I know that the changes we have in store will be a departure from the normal operations here, but we’re making them all to keep everyone safe,” said Krista Harrington, the Ely Interpretive Center manager.
Since the center closed, numerous free programs have been offered online and the Wolf Center has reached thousands of people it normally wouldn’t have, she said.
“Several of these programs will continue even after the Wolf Center reopens, most notably our new webcam partnership with Explore.org and our webinar wolf biology series,” she said.
Back in April, the Ely Wolf Center deferred bringing in two wolf pups until 2021 due to health concerns over COVID-19.
“The process of bringing in wolf pups and socializing them is intensive and involves several staff and volunteers providing 24-hour care and monitoring over several weeks,” Spickelmier said.
He said it was determined that the potential health risks to the Wolf Center staff and volunteers were too high to justify moving forward this year.
Typically, adding pups on a four-year cycle to the Wolf Center’s pack of ambassador wolves helps maintain pack dynamics.
“Since two pups will not be brought in this year as planned, Wolf Care staff are developing a new management plan to support the Ambassador Pack until pups can be added in 2021,” he added.