‘A good day out’

Fam­i­lies flock to wildlife park over Her­itage Day long week­end

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA

Cape Breton res­i­dents took full ad­van­tage of the rel­a­tively mild weather to hit the great out­doors over Fe­bru­ary’s mid­win­ter long week­end.

And while many out­door en­thu­si­asts hit the ski slopes or made their way along cross- coun­try ski and snow­shoe­ing trails, hun­dreds of oth­ers headed to the Two Rivers Wildlife Park, where they were at­tracted by the lure of wild an­i­mals, wagon rides through the woods and Lit­tle Bear, the park’s lat­est most pop­u­lar res­i­dent.

“It’s a good day out,” said park man­ager Johnny Hunt­ing­ton. “We’ve been get­ting good crowds — the weather’s been good and peo­ple love get­ting out­side.”

By 1:45 p.m. on Mon­day there was still a long line of ve­hi­cles wait­ing to en­ter the 500-acre park lo­cated on the north bank of the Mira River about 10 kilo­me­tres south­west of Mar­ion Bridge.

But once in­side, there was plenty to do.

Many fam­i­lies strolled through the for­est area that is home to the an­i­mal en­clo­sures, while oth­ers took to one of the prop­erty’s many hills to do some to­bog­gan­ing and slid­ing.

And then there were the horses.

In­deed, six- year- old Crys­tal MacDon­ald didn’t hes­i­tate when asked about her favourite an­i­mal.

“I want to see the horses,” she said, adding that she also planned to visit Lit­tle Bear, an aban­doned black bear cub that was found wan­der­ing alone in the Why­co­co­magh area in late Jan­uary.

Al­though Lit­tle Bear was de­hy­drated, un­der­weight and suf­fer­ing from pneu­mo­nia, the an­i­mal is do­ing well and now weighs about 80 pounds, said park at­ten­dant Mike Tim­mons.

“He’s prob­a­bly the most pop­u­lar an­i­mal right now,” said Tim­mons, who had a large crowd of park visi­tors watch­ing him as he checked out Lit­tle Bear’s teeth and gen­eral health at the edge of the en­clo­sure.

And he was proven cor­rect as ev­i­denced by the cries of de­light from the pas­sen­gers who spot­ted Lit­tle Bear while trav­el­ing around the park on the horse-drawn wagon driven by Telsi Lynn Huntin­gon.

Back in the more wide open ar­eas of the park, kids hur­tled down the slopes, while oth­ers gath­ered to check out the tra­di­tional farm an­i­mals in the yard by the old barn.

Mon­day was the third year that Nova Sco­tians cel­e­brated Her­itage Day, a statu­tory hol­i­day, leg­is­lated in 2013 and first marked in 2015, that serves as a re­minder of the prov­ince’s rich his­tory and its unique her­itage. And, as part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th birth­day, the 2017 hol­i­day also rec­og­nized Mi’kmaq cul­ture and the many ac­com­plish­ments of the Mi’kmaq peo­ple.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST

Pow­ered by Bel­gian horses Mag­gie and Rosie and driven by park at­ten­dant Telsi Lynn Hunt­ing­ton, a cov­ered wagon makes its way a trail at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park on Mon­day. Hun­dreds of peo­ple spent their Her­itage Day at the park vis­it­ing the an­i­mals, to­bog­gan­ing and tak­ing wagon rides.

Hunt­ing­ton

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST

A crowd of peo­ple gath­ers at the en­clo­sure of Lit­tle Bear, the aban­doned black bear cub that was found wan­der­ing alone in the Why­co­co­magh area in Jan­uary be­fore he was brought to the park. Above, on­look­ers watch as park at­ten­dant Mike Tim­mons checks out the pop­u­lar bruin through an open­ing in the en­clo­sure.

MacDon­ald

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