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This review written by Ken Kawata and reprinted by Kind Permission of International Zoo News
Driving five km west of Annapolis Royal, NS, Upper Clements Park, an amusement park, will first catch the visitor's eye. Upon paying the admission fee of $2.30 (5 years and under are admitted free) he is told that the Upper Clements Wildlife Park is included with the admission fee and is adjacent to this stylish amusement complex, a mere ten-minute walk, or he can take a brief ride in a tractor-pulled car for $1.15 per person, round trip. The combined admission fee of $2.30 per person is indeed a bargain. The atmosphere shifts immediately once the visitor enters the wildlife park through a tunnel, although the loud music and the noise from the roller coaster are still heard. The wildlife park has no flavor of an amusement park, and may surprise those who expected to see a more commercialized operation. Actually the amusement park is run by a separate group of local people, and the two are connected only by the tunnel. According to its brochure, the park was constructed in 1973 by the Department of Natural Resources and opened to the public on 6 July 1976. In 1995 the Upper Clements Wildlife Park Society, a community-based, non-profit organization, took over the park from the Province of Nova Scotia.
Animal exhibits occupy 12 ha out of the 567 ha that the park encompasses. The park is clean, providing a comfortable ambience, and on our visit on 7 June, even the type of crowd appeared more sedate than those in the amusement park. It takes about one hour to see the exhibits, which are divided into two areas. In the first area, a one-way, winding walkway through a forest allows visitors to view animals. Enclosures are plainly built, well maintained and furnished with live trees, grass and wood chips, and no rusting of wire was noted. The only enclosure with no natural substrate was the American black bear exhibit, consisting of concrete walls and floor but equipped with a hanging log, climbing apparatus and a pool for the inhabitants. In some of the cages the wire mesh was vinyl-coated, which helped to lessen the appearance of confinement. It was interesting to note that the moose exhibit was indented off the main walkway, and visitors were guided through an 80-meter trail to view the animals. In this first area I saw the following animals: 2 woodchuck, 1 North American porcupine, 2 coyote, 4 red fox (2 of them silver phase), 2 Arctic fox, 2 American black bear, 1 raccoon, 1 striped skunk, 1 mink, 2 lynx, 2 bobcat, 0.1 moose, 2 bald eagle and 2 barred owl.
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