Beartree Park

Our hagwon took the kinder kids on a field trip to Beartree Park, located 25 miles or so outside of Cheonan. Bears are pretty popular here it seems… what with a smattering of bear parks and teddy bear museums all over the peninsula. While the park’s landscaping was definitely well-manicured, the animals were most certainly not.

We checked out the “pet zoo” (note: not “petting zoo”) and the “Asiatic brown bear” sections of the park before calling it a day (two hours with nine screaming, chatty, running, hitting, peeing, “carry me, carry me” 5 and 6 year-olds is long enough– and I like kids). The “pet zoo” featured a wide assortment of creatures: baby brown bears, beagles, goats, rabbits, an akita litter, peacocks, rabbits, guinea pigs, deer, cats, ducks, and some reindeer. Yeah…. The animals didn’t look great; they seemed a bit underfed and their coats were lackluster and shaggy. Some of the dogs had obviously been fighting– one of the akitas even had blood on his ear and muzzle. The pens were devoid of playthings, soft spots for napping, food, and in some cases water– just fenced-in concrete zones of restriction and sadness. The “Asiatic brown bear” section was weird, for lack of a better word. It contained two drop-down enclosures, that must have housed well over 50 fully grown bears each. The bears looked better than the scraggly crew over in the “pet” section– but, really they just looked overfed and lethargic. Perhaps you couldn’t tell, but I am not a fan of zoos… especially not of Asian zoos.

At any rate, the kids seemed to enjoy it (even though my co-teachers and I were secretly shooting each other worried looks over the state of some of the animals). Um… so, win?

The Beagle Exhibit

Adam contemplating the morality of zoos…  (right there with ya buddy!) 

A baby bear trying to escape the compound

This is Becky’s “happy” face.

Eek! Bears! Oh… phew! It’s just Julie-Teacher and Syd-o-ney-Teacher…

Me with my kinder class, posing in front of the bear enclosures

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2 responses to “Beartree Park

  1. I have also noticed the lack of quality treatment in zoos within Asia (or even outside zoos), pretty sad. Yet most locals I’ve talked to think nothing of it. Great post nonetheless! I can’t believe they had beagles at the zoo… and I thought it was weird seeing squirrels and pigeons on display. haha

    • Yeah, it was definitely a sad scene. The beagle puppies were obviously teething but had no toys or sticks to chew on, so they chewed my fingers instead. If I spoke Korean I would have called the director of the park to complain…

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