Baylor To Dedicate New Bear Habitat

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Oct. 24, 2005

Contact: Cathy Pleitz, Campaign Coordinator, at (254) 710-2561

Baylor University's bears are throwing a housewarming party to show off their new home.

The university will formally dedicate the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, on Fifth Street and the M.P. Daniel Esplanade, across from the Bear Habitat on the Baylor campus.

With the Williams family of Scottsdale, Ariz., providing the lead gift, the dedication ceremony will recognize them and the 350 donors who supported the Bear Habitat project. After the ceremony, visitors will be able to see the mascots interact in their new abode.

"The Bear Habitat is the No. 1 visitor site on Baylor's campus and is frequented by faculty, staff and students every day," said Cathy Pleitz, Bear Habitat campaign coordinator. "The new habitat provides a comfortable and stimulating environment. Also, having this type of setting with live bears is unique for a college campus."

Joy and Lady, who moved into their habitat in time for Parents Weekend in September, enjoy exploring their new home, according to Bear Trainer Charles Lucenay, a Dallas senior. The updated facility, which cost approximately $1 million, is more natural and spacious and includes features such as a waterfall, pools, caves, deadfall trees and digging areas. The bears' visitors can enjoy the educational cabana with information about the North American Black Bear and enhanced viewing areas that provide an up-close glimpse of the bears. Also, the plaque honoring Steve Hudson, in whose honor the original habitat was named, has been refurbished and placed on a special recognition wall, along with several other historical plaques.

"It is great to finally see the project come to fruition," Lucenay said. "The Baylor Chamber of Commerce strives to do what is in the best interest of the bears, and I truly believe that this new home is a great step up in the quality of life for the bears. The new habitat provides people with a much better viewing and educational experience when visiting the bears. Also, people have an opportunity to see the animals in an environment that is much closer to their natural environment."

The event is open to the public. Parking will be available at the Ferrell Center, with shuttles providing transportation to and from the dedication site. For more information, contact Pleitz at (254) 710-2561 or (800) BAYLOR-U, option 4.

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