A True Floridian

One of Florida’s most iconic native animals, the Florida black bear, can be found in a variety of habitats in the wild, including hardwood hammocks, pinelands and forested wetlands. Zoo Miami is also home to two of our very own, “Libby” and “Laurel”. These six-year-old females were born at the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois, and then housed at the Akron Zoo before coming to their new home at Zoo Miami.

Florida Black Bear

Since the sisters are still young and very interactive, they are very easy to enrich and they will play with a variety of items! Keepers use puzzle feeders and barrels to hang their food, as well as hiding their diet around the exhibit in boxes or wrapped in newspaper for them to find. This way, they get the experience of “hunting” for their food. Occasionally, keepers will also spread honey, peanut butter, jelly and similar sweets on logs and trees on their exhibit for them to find and enjoy. They particularly love when they get ice and frozen treats!

The bears’ keepers have come to nickname this playful pair the “Whale Bears” because of the loud vocalizations they make when they are excited or agitated – much like Dory from “Finding Nemo”! This nickname is also fitting since the bears love to take bubble baths, or ice baths, even sometimes fighting over who can sit in their tub of ice – rolling around in eating the ice!

Libby is darker than her sister and has a smaller face. She is slightly more inquisitive and tends to be the more impatient of the two, even “scolding” her keepers loudly for taking too long to feed her! She is also more likely than her sister to go for a swim in their pool.

Laurel can be recognized by the white markings on her chest and her cinnamon color. She prefers to stay indoors and is more calm and patient than Libby when her keepers are working with her, except when she’s waiting to go inside!

Both bears are fed a variety of greens, fruit and omnivore chow, plus they receive herring three times a week. Libby and Laurel can currently be seen on exhibit in our Asia lobe at Zoo Miami, but will be moved to their new home in our upcoming Florida: Mission Everglades exhibit once it opens!

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There are many different ways to support your favorite Zoo Miami animal. Adopting an animal is a great way to say thank you to the animals that make your visits to the zoo special. When you become an annual sponsor, your tax-deductible gift will help our zoo keepers feed, care for, and enrich the lives of our special animal residents.

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General support of Zoo Miami and Zoo Miami Foundation ensures that our commitment to education, conservation, animal care, and serving the community is fulfilled. There are many ways to give and show your support, from supporting an event or program at the zoo, capital support for new exhibits, or honoring a loved one. We are here to serve the community and we can do so much more with your support!

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