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Topeka Zoo creates Val Watch contest



TOPEKA, Kan. – Val the bear will emerge from torpor in early spring.

The Topeka Zoo says every year Val the bear digs her den in her enclosure and will go into torpor until early spring. It said in 2021, it has decided to hold a contest to see who can guess when Val will emerge from hibernation. It said the contest is open to all schools in Shawnee County.

According to the Zoo, a trail camera will be set up in front of her den to record when she finally emerges. It said it will also label the best spot Zoo-goers can see her den from within the Zoo for residents that wish to see where she is sleeping and maybe even catch a glimpse of her for themselves.

The Zoo said each student will be able to submit their guess of what day and hour they think she will come out and the one that is closest to when she does will win.

According to the Zoo, eligible participants will be able to complete a form online to submit their guesses. It said winners will get a certificate, a bear painting for their classroom and a behind the scene encounter for the classroom and students.