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Spring Comes to the Zoo With a Roar and a Yawn

In Anchorage, Alaska, a sleepy black bear lifts her heavy eyelids after a long winter of hibernation. Is it time to come out? In San Diego, a new baby koala begins to eye the world from the warm comfort of his mother's pouch. In Boston, a proud draught horse bellows and stomps. He's impatient, ready to start his new job pulling zoo guests around the park in clunky wooden wagons. As the days get longer and warmer, spring is fast arriving. Here's a look at what might be happening at a zoo near you.

In Alaska, those black bears are still pretty groggy. They sleepily wander out from their cave, take a few steps in the deep snow, and quickly retreat into the warmth of their homes. But the brown bears are having much more fun. It's been cold all winter - 0 degrees on most days. So the recent string of 30-degree days seems like a major thaw. The brown bears are tossing and turning, rolling around in the snow.

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Their antics even seem to be rubbing off on some of the visitors: A few of these furless creatures have been spotted in shorts!

But it's really warm down south in San Diego, and some animals have already had their spring babies. One koala bear hasn't been able to take good enough care of her new baby, so the zoo keepers are helping out. They've strapped tiny koala-pack backpacks across their chests and are toting the little one around. Their sacks, just like his mom's pouch, have the opening at the bottom of the bag. So to peek out, he hangs upside down.

The gorillas do a little better at raising their newest member, who's named Ndjia (pronounced njia) after a village in Gabon, Africa. Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother take a group approach to raising this newborn: They all pitch in to feed, bathe, and cuddle.

Back in Boston, the biggest noises aren't coming from any animals - but from the construction crews that are building the lions' newest lair.

This big dig includes making a 20-foot deep dry moat to keep the big cats separated from visitors. Even though the King of the Beasts could probably jump this moat, he apparently doesn't like heights.

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