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Axhi, a grizzly bear at Brookfield Zoo, enjoys a 300-pound block of ice. (Kelly Tone / Chicago Zoological Society)

As a heat wave moved across the Chicago area last week, polar and grizzly bears stayed cool at the zoo with fruit-filled blocks of ice weighing 300 pounds.

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A piping plover on Waukegan Beach in 2018. (Ethan Ellis / Flickr)

The festival had been scheduled for Aug. 23-24 at Montrose Beach, where a pair of endangered piping plovers established a nest this spring. 

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Florida alligator expert Frank Robb holds an alligator during a news conference, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

The 4-foot, 18-pound American alligator will stay alone for 90 days to make sure he is illness-free, and then join other gators, says St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park Director John Brueggen.

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Searle Visitor Center (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

The 151-year-old zoo will continue to offer free admission for the next 30-plus years after agreeing to an extended contract with the city.

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(terry priest / Flickr)

You’re not crazy. A local expert says people are seeing “substantially more flashing activity in the evening.” He tells us why there are so many of our favorite summertime bug – and why they light up.

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The Humboldt Park alligator was caught early Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Courtesy of Chicago Animal Care and Control)

The alligator had a good run as day after day the people hunting for him in a Chicago lagoon came up empty, but in the end he was no match for an expert the city shipped in from Florida.

Half of Humboldt Park closes as search enters second week

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An alligator floats in the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Chicago. Officials couldn’t say how the creature got there, but traps are being placed around the lagoon in hopes the animal will swim into one and be safely removed. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune via AP)

Sections of Humboldt Park are closed Monday while the search continues for the elusive gator, which is at least 4 feet long. 

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Efforts to capture an alligator in the Humboldt Park Lagoon continued for the fourth day on Friday. (Alex Ruppenthal / WTTW News)

Dozens of people lined a wall overlooking the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Friday waiting for a glimpse of an elusive alligator that continues to evade authorities’ efforts to capture it.

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Two sea otter pups arrived at Shedd Aquarium on July 8, 2019, after being rescued in California. (Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium)

Two sea otter pups rescued recently off the coast of California have a new home in Chicago where they are now “thriving,” according to the aquarium.

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Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary (Courtesy Openlands)

Environmental nonprofit Openlands created a new online tool to help Chicago-area residents easily identify ways to explore the outdoors in and around the city. 

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(Zsolt Palatinus / Pexels)

As the search for the Humboldt Park Lagoon alligator continues, learn more about these fear-inducing creatures – and why they shouldn’t be brought home as a pet.

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(skeeze / Pixabay)

New research by University of Chicago scientists shows that despite the positive intentions of conservationists who promote captive breeding for monarchs, the practice may not be producing the desired effect.

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An alligator floats in the Humboldt Park Lagoon on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Chicago. Officials couldn’t say how the creature got there, but traps are being placed around the lagoon in hopes the animal will swim into one and be safely removed. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune via AP)

Chicago police investigators have cracked the case: A 4- to 5-foot alligator is living in a lagoon at one of the city’s most popular parks.

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A red wolf pup at Lincoln Park Zoo (Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo)

From rare blind salamanders to adorable red wolf pups, here’s our guide to the newest and most unique animals to visit in and around Chicago. 

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Nickel, a green sea turtle rescued off the Florida Gulf Coast in 1998. (Courtesy Shedd Aquarium)

This massive Chicago aquarium was the world’s largest when it opened to the public in 1930. Today it holds 5 million gallons of water and features a dazzling array of creatures. Learn more fun facts about the Shedd.

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A rescued sea lion pup receives fluids in a warming pool at Channel Island Marine & Wildlife Institute in California. (Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium)

The response by animal care specialists from Shedd and other institutions comes amid reports of an abnormally large number of sick adult California sea lions and malnourished pups.