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Orange County Focus

LA HABRA : Museum Lets Youths Look and Touch

September 07, 1993|MIMI KO

Some were killed while crossing a street. Others died of old age, and a few were hunted down.

The dead bears, owls, mountain lions, moose, foxes and other wild animals were donated to the Children's Museum at La Habra, where they stand tall after undergoing taxidermy to look alive for display in the wildlife exhibit.

Youths learn about the animals and their habitats as they walk through the makeshift forest, desert and other natural wildlife surroundings, petting more than 50 stuffed animals.

Lisa Tozier, 8, and her classmates from Wonderland Preschool and Day Care Center in Rosemead, recently toured the exhibit, carefully examining each of the animals.

"They're nice and furry," Lisa said, caressing a bobcat.

Jonathon Mok, 9, said he favored the black bear cub, which sits up on its hind legs with its mouth open in a pose that makes it appear as if ready to claw at something.

"I'm not scared," Jonathon said. "I think animals are nice."

The students learned that great-horned owls are "undeniably courageous, powerful and bloodthirsty," that red squirrels eat nuts, berries, fungi, insects, larvae, shed antlers, eggs, young birds and maple sugar sap and other interesting facts about other animals, including mule deer, skunks, porcupines and hyenas.

"Seeing the wild animals on TV doesn't tell children how thick the fur is or how big they are," said Dorothy Fife, a museum docent. "This (exhibit) teaches respect for the animals."

That's what Andrew Tovar said he learned.

"Sometimes I see buffalo at Yellowstone Park just like this one," the 8-year-old boy said, wrapping his arm around the museum's North American bison. "They should all be saved."

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