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Bear pair stars at new attraction

Associated Press

ELY, Minn. — Black bears Ted and Honey have become the main attractions at the new $1.7 million North American Bear Center in Ely, near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The center, in the heart of Minnesota bear country, expects about 50,000 visitors a year. Its mission will be to educate the public about bears, said Lynn Rogers, a bear researcher from Ely who first envisioned the center.

The center includes a two-acre enclosure for Ted and Honey Bear, bear-viewing areas, interactive displays, audio displays of bear sounds, DVDs of bear body language and vocalizations, photographs, stuffed and mounted bears, a theater, a kids room and nature trails.

Ted and Honey Bear, who center officials hope will mate, are on loan to the center from Jeff Traska of Wausau, Wis.

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"Ted is the big male," Traska said. "He’s just a big, happy bear. All he wants to do is lick your face. Honey is kind of more high-strung and afraid."

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