A Crescent Surprise
Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re not only over the moon for our Zoo fans, but we also love our animals to the moon and back! In case you haven’t guessed who the special recipient of Animeals this month is, it’s not the cow who jumped over the moon, it’s the moon bears!
Moon bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Their diet typically consists of root vegetables like sweet potato and fruits like berries. Meat and protein for moon bears is usually from insects and nuts, however like most bears, they are opportunistic eaters and will eat other meats like fish if given the chance.
The Zoo’s two moon bear brothers Thai and Chai are very fond of food and have an excellent sense of smell. This makes for a great opportunity to hide food around the yard and encourages natural behavior for the bears to find their next meal as they would in the wild. As a precaution, the brothers are fed separately to ensure everyone gets their fair share of goodies from Chef Yohn.
Chef Yohn did a little holiday baking to spread the love on this day of love. Using a variety of ingredients found in the moon bears’ daily diets and a touch of creativity, this year’s Valentine’s Day masterpieces were prepared. Chef Yohn could nearly contain his excitement to see the bears get their paws on this Animeals.
MOONSTRUCK HEARTS AND STARS
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 3 bananas
• 1/3 cup coconut flour
• 1/3 cup cheerios
• 2 sweet potatoes
• long banana leaf strips
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375°.
Step 2: In a bowl, mash one banana.
Step 3: Add peanut butter and coconut flour and mix thoroughly.
Step 4: Scoop out mixture into three sections onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Step 5: Make desired shape out of each section; Chef Yohn made two stars and one crescent moon.
Step 6: Top with Cheerios.
Step 7: Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Step 8: While cookies are baking, cut sweet potato into thick slices and then cut desired shape into each large slice. Chef Yohn cut out stars and hearts.
Step 9: Using banana leaf as string, tie it around the sweet potato slices so that you can hang them. Also tie the banana leaf around the centers of the two extra bananas.
Step 10: Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or chill for five minutes.
Step 11: Gather sweet potato hangers, bananas and cookies and hide them around the moon bear exhibit.
Step 12: See Chai find all of his Valentines! (Thai also received some behind-the-scenes.)