The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven, temporarily while they heal, or permanently, as they are unable to survive on their own. We are extremely proud that 90% of all the animals brought to us for rehabilitation are successfully released back into their native environment. Those that remain with us on exhibit are either too injured or have been imprinted by humans and cannot be released back into the wild to care for themselves.
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, a Special District of the County of San Bernardino owns the zoo, the facilities and the animals. Animal care, grounds keepers, maintenance, education and administration staff are all County employees. The Zoo is located within the Third District of the County of San Bernardino. The Park District oversees the operation of the zoo, and the Curator oversees the day-to-day activities. The zoo is located in the San Bernardino National Forest at an elevation of 7,140 feet.
Since March 2008, Debbie Richardson has served as the Zoo’s General Manager and Curator. Prior to coming to Big Bear Alpine Zoo, Debbie worked at the Los Angeles Zoo for 13 years.
The Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo (FOBBAZ) was created in 1989, as a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, fundraising organization to support the zoo. FOBBAZ provide volunteer work in the zoo and their volunteer activities cover a wide range of duties including staffing the gift shop and the grazing corral, providing docent tours, preparing meals, helping with animal presentations and occasionally assisting with light maintenance activities. Today, FOBBAZ is charged with raising several million dollars that are needed to relocate and build the zoo at the proposed new site.
Facts: The Big Bear Alpine Zoo (Formally Moonridge Animal Park) opened its doors in 1959 after a devastating wildfire roared through the San Bernardino National Forest. Originally, we were not a zoo, but a safe place for injured animals to rehabilitate and get a second chance back in the wild. For some, returning to the wild was not an option as they had been imprinted by their human caretakers or were too injured to take care of themselves. The first animals in our care were a black bear and two bobcats.
In 1960, a 50 year lease was obtained and allowed the zoo to grow to be the zoological facility that is today. We are currently home to animals and birds representing over 85 species. We are located in the largest County is the United States. Our primary objective is to rescue, rehabilitate and release wild animals. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is the “go to” facility for injured and imprinted animals. Local, county, state and federal entities as well as other non-profit organizations and the public turn to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo to help animals in need. We are permitted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to care for injured and imprinted animals. Click here to read the full history of Big Bear Alpine Zoo