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Zoo to You Foundation at Free Sheep

Portland Art Museum
Unauthorized Audio Tour

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PDL Zoo to You  Foundation dotted line

Zoo To You Foundation at Free Sheep Zoo To You Foundation at Free Sheep Zoo To You Foundation at Free Sheep Zoo To You Foundation at Free Sheep Zoo To You Foundation at Free Sheep spacer

For those of you who did not get the chance to stroll down 3rd Avenue this winter and see the new PDL installation at the Free Sheep Foundation, I want to pass along a link that reveals the project in 360 degrees — inside the installation. Seattle photographer Bradford Bohonus came down to the installation last Saturday and captured an incredible perspective (or multiple perspectives) of the installation, using a technique that still remains a bit of a mystery to me.

You can view his VR photograph of PDL’s “Zoo to You” installation here

For those of you familiar with PDL, of course there was no Japanese Sloth Bear in residence. But for the residents (and vagrants) of Belltown, a great many of them were sad to hear that Toshi had moved on. Despite the “Please do not tap on the glass” stickers we placed on all of the windows, pedestrians of all types, at all hours, continued to knock and pound on the glass trying to stir Toshi from her slumber. One person just couldn't take it, and smashed a large hole through the front window (you can see the hole in the VR photo). As Jed and Greg replaced the glass this past weekend, neighbors were sad to hear the behavior of the foot traffic, and sad to see her go. All in all, another project from PDL that will not be entirely forgotten, or entirely understood. 

Maybe it was the press release…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

Japanese Sloth Bear Lounges in Downtown Seattle  

The Zoo to You Foundation in association with Woodland Park Zoo, the Free Sheep Foundation and PDL, welcomes Toshi to the urban landscape of Seattle, Washington. For the month of December, pedestrians and animal enthusiasts can view this four year old, 1,200 pound Japanese Sloth Bear set against an alpine landscape of her native forest on Hokkaido Island, Japan. Safe inside an adapted commercial storefront, Toshi can be viewed by spectators throughout the day as she eats, plays and slumbers with her favorite toy doll Benji. This is the debut visit of a Sloth Bear to Woodland Park Zoo and the inaugural extension program of Zoo to You! Toshi is only the second Japanese Sloth Bear to ever visit the United States and represents a rare opportunity to see this threatened species in an accessible, urban environment.  

About the Zoo to You Foundation
The Zoo to You Foundation started in Brooklyn, New York, in the mid 1970s by animal activist and behavior psychologist Dr. Dorian Weinerman. Dr. Weinerman recognized the importance of man interacting with other animal species, specifically large mammals. His modest program (Connecting People to Nature) started as a partnership between the Brooklyn Zoo and the public school system of New York City, where monkeys, zebras and a special black bear named Tony were introduced to classrooms, department stores and corporate boardrooms throughout New York. In 1988, the Zoo to You Foundation was formed, taking Dr. Weinerman's ideas to a national stage. Today, Zoo to You has partnerships with 55 city zoos and nature conservatories worldwide.  

About Toshi 
Toshi comes to Seattle in coordination with the Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Hokkaido, Japan. She will participate in the Zoo to You Foundation's urban integration program for the month of December before taking more permanent residence at the Woodland Park Zoo. She is very playful and curious and, being raised in captivity, is very comfortable around humans.   

About Japanese Sloth Bears
The Japanese Sloth Bear is a lazy, timid creature that lives in the endangered forests in and around Daisetsuzan National Park, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Japanese Sloth Bear spends most of its time foraging for its favorite food- the fruit of the barberry bush. It's browsing habits and shaggy, unkempt fur has earned it the local nickname shinrin moppu- "the mop of the forest." Adult Sloth Bears can reach a height of 1.25 meters at the shoulder, but, standing on its hind legs, can extend to 2.75 m to reach low hanging branches. Their sharp claws may seem like frightening weapons, but are actually used to dig up roots in the winter. Fur coloration ranges from black with rust-red streaks to light brown with blonde tufts. Female bear single young in spring. Population estimated at 1,250 animals.

 

 

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