Kodiak Bears Munsey and Boda to Celebrate 5th Birthday

photo by Sue Wendlandt

Public Birthday Celebration to be Held Feb. 22

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Kodiak bears Munsey and Boda will be celebrating their fifth birthday at the Wildwood Zoo with a public celebration on Feb. 22.

The zoo is hosting the car-themed “bear-thday” party and providing the bears with enrichment and treats.

Munsey and Boda, first year. Courtesy Wildwood Park and Zoo

The event includes a short presentation on the bears’ history while they enjoy their presents. In 2015, Munsey and Boda were rescued as weeks-old cubs on Kodiak Island, Alaska after their mother was shot by an unguided hunter.

They were later named for their rescuers, hunting guide Mike Munsey and Kodiak Wildlife Biologist Nate Svoboda. The bears’ sibling, Dodge, resides at Toledo Zoo in Ohio with two grizzly bears.

Sue Wendlandt

Munsey and Boda are much bigger today than when they were pulled from a muddy den and carried away in a pack to food and safety. Munsey weighs 932 pounds and Boda is the larger of the two at 1,062 pounds. Both can stretch to roughly 9 feet on their hind legs and are expected to grow even more.

“They typically reach their adult size around six years of age, at which point they will likely continue to gain weight throughout their lifetime,” said Sarah Storandt, Education Coordinator. “Compared to other known weights of Kodiaks in human care, Munsey would be considered a more typical size for their age, while Boda is definitely above the average!”

Growing to that impressive size requires a bear-sized appetite. In the morning this time of year, Munsey and Boda are fed three pounds of carnivore loaf and three gallons of fruits and vegetables, followed by 24 cups of bear chow and another three gallons of fruits and vegetables in the afternoon.

Daryn Bahn

Their diet increases at other times of the year. “This past fall, each bear was fed upwards of 8 pounds of carnivore loaf, 10 gallons of produce, and 60 cups of bear chow every day!” said Storandt. “Their favorite foods include avocados, papaya, whole coconuts, all types of nuts, and, of course, the bakery items they get for special occasions!”

The brothers spend most of their time together, whether they’re stretching out in the sun, climbing logs, or wrestling in the pond.

Daryn Bahn

“They love any type of enrichment that involves food, especially peanut butter or honey, different scents, and items they can rip apart!” said Storandt. “We are very excited to see how they interact with their birthday items!”

The bears will officially turn 5 on Feb. 21, and the public celebration takes place the next day at 10 a.m. The public is welcome to bring gifts for the bears to enjoy at a later date from the provided list.

Since the ribbon was cut on the expansive exhibit in the fall of 2015, Munsey and Boda have become synonymous with the Wildwood Zoo.

“It has been a real treat seeing how the community has fallen in love with the bears. They have remained the top attraction ever since their arrival in 2015 and consistently draw guests from well outside Marshfield, and even the state!” said Steve Burns, Zoo Manager. “While the ‘newness’ of things inevitably wears out, the bears have continued to captivate guests who return time and again to see how much the bears have grown since their last visit. Having grown 10 times larger since their 1st birthday at Wildwood Zoo, Munsey and Boda certainly do not disappoint!”

Daryn Bahn

Burns believes the continued interested in the bears has been a driver in the revitalization of the zoo over the past five years.

“Though projects like the new staff building, cougar exhibit and zoo Welcome Center were all on the Master Plan, the splash the bears made has really allowed us to ride that wave to fast track those projects from plan to reality!” he said.

Munsey and Boda’s residency with the zoo helps promote its mission to foster an understanding of the partnership between humans and nature.

“The privilege of providing a home for such awesome and charismatic animals has been an invaluable opportunity for us to inspire our guests to learn about, build relationships with and then ultimately truly care about animals and our natural world,” said Burns. “For that we at Wildwood Park and Zoo will always be grateful to two of our favorite animal ambassadors — Munsey and Boda!”

Munsey and Boda Birthday Wish List:

Edible Items:

• Dried Fruit
• Peanut Butter
• Honey
• Nuts (unsalted)
• Whole Coconuts
• Whole Papayas
• Jelly
• Sugar-free Jell-O
• Whole Melons
• Applesauce

Scents:
• Hunting Lures
• Spices/Herbs
• Extracts
• Perfumes
• Artificial Flavorings

Miscellaneous:
• Kid Safe Bubble Bath
• Silicone Molds (for popsicles)
• Boomer Balls
• Metal Beer Keg
• Newspaper
• Sound Machine (nature)

 

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Munsey and Boda Turn Three

Meet The Photographer: Daryn Bahn

Kaylin S
Author: Kaylin S

Kaylin Speth is a Marshfield native with a bachelor's degree in English from UW-Green Bay. She enjoys highlighting the many great things happening in the community and bringing to life the untold stories. Email the team at [email protected]