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In 2008, one of the oak trees on the patio at the snack bar had died and needed to be removed. Instead of removing the tree, one of the naturalists on staff thought the tree could be utilized as a sculpture. A local chainsaw artist (Phil Yordy) was located, and got to work. He produced a beautiful work of art and featured many of ZooAmerica’s animals including a lynx, eagle, otter, wolf, bear, and owl.
Now, in 2011, another tree carving is being completed to be displayed in the Big Sky area of the zoo, between the prairie dogs and mountain lions. The carving will be of a mountain lion climbing down a rocky ledge to attempt to catch a rabbit below. Phil Yordy has been busy at work completing his newest work of art. Zoo visitors can watch the carving in action on their visits beginning again on Monday, June 20 from 10am-2pm. Phil has been working on this for the last two weeks and it is now in need of finishing touches and then coats of lacquer to keep it from breaking down in the sun.
One of Phil’s bear carvings will guide you to the carving once you’re in the zoo:
The tree being used in this new carving is a spruce that came from Tremont High School. The tree had died and was being removed anyway. A front-end loader had to be used to get this 5,000 pound trunk on zoo property. Once it is completed, it will be moved into the public area where people can stand next to it for a great photo.
This tree carving will be the first in a series. There will be one carving for each of the geographical areas represented at the zoo.