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Milwaukee County Zoo using a polar bear to make Groundhog Day prediction this year

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 13:35:45-05

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Zoo is taking the Groundhog Day tradition back to its origins and letting Snow Lilly the polar bear predict whether or not Wisconsin will have an early spring this year.

According to the zoo, this tradition dates back to the 1800's, and it started as a European weather lore in which a badger or a bear predicted the weather.

Last year, the zoo's groundhog, Wynter, passed away from old age and they needed to find a new replacement. 

Like groundhogs, the zoo says bears are hibernating species and both those species emerge at about the same time. And that's why they will have Snow Lilly make the prediction.
"If it’s sunny and Snow Lilly sees her shadow, she’ll return to her den for six more weeks of winter, but if she does not see her shadow, we can expect an early spring," the zoo's website says

The event is Feb. 2, 2018 at 10:30 am, and following the prediction will be polar bear crafts, educational activities, and polar bear cookies and hot chocolate for sale. 

The proceeds will benefit the Milwaukee Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers’ and the “Trees for You and Me” programs. Both promote the quest to fight climate change through reforestation and habitat revitalization projects.

For more information on the Zoo's Groundhog Day events, click here.