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Genie the black bear emerges from hibernation at Montreal Ecomuseum Zoo

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Looking groggy and a bit ruffled after sleeping since November, Genie the black bear emerged from hibernation on Friday.

"It's spring, that's what it means for us," said Ecomuseum Zoo executive director David Rodrigue.

The caregivers at the Ecomuseum Zoo said Genie started showing signs that she was waking up a few days ago.

"We check on her every day and so we know when she's becoming active," said Ecomuseum director of animal care Patricia Presseau. "A couple of days ago, she went out into the enclosure -- it's close to the living space -- and she was walking so we knew it was coming."

Presseau said warmer weather and longer days contribute to Genie coming out of her den.

"It's a very early one, one of the earliest we've ever seen," said Rodrigue.

Located in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, the Ecomuseum Zoo is dedicated to preserving Quebec wildlife and has animals from all over the St. Lawrence Valley.

Genie is their gem.

"It's one of the large animals in our care and our way to reconnect people with wildlife," said Rodrigue. "It's certainly an interesting animal. I think everybody knows and reacts to a black bear, and it gives us a chance to transmit our educational messages."

Black bears are solitary by nature, yet Genie has her own distinct character.

"She likes to look at other animals," said Presseau. "She's next to the wolves, and when they play or fight, she goes down and bangs on the fence."                

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