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The Mann Museum

In 2003, the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum was purchased by the Montgomery Area Zoological Society and moved to the Montgomery Zoo. The collection of large animals on display was taken with bow and arrow by trophy hunter George Mann. Guests visiting the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum are able to touch and feel the furs and antlers of some of the animals on display. The animals are in a three-sided displays so you can walk up close and see the animal and their habitat. All the displays are assembled from natural material and actual plants, rocks, trees, small critters, dirt and sand collected from the actual site where displayed animals lived its life. Also in the fish room, all kinds of mounted fish are on display; including stingrays, sharks, marlin, blue fin, and a killer whale (orca).

George Mann and his story

The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum was originally opened in Opelika, Alabama under the name of Mann Museum and Outdoors. It was the culmination of a life long dream of George P. Mann, a recognized authority on the outdoors and animals of North America. George, together with his wife and their children, committed their knowledge, time, and finances to bring to Alabama one of the finest museums of natural history in the country, dedicated to wildlife conservation through education. Relocated to Montgomery in January 2003, The Mann Wildlife Learning Museum brings together a lifetime committed to the study of wildlife and the collection of one of the most complete presentations of North American and Alabama wildlife: animals, birds, fish, and reptiles. From his earliest days hunting, trapping and fishing, George was consumed with the desire to learn and appreciate the unique living habits of these animals to the extent that he could fully understand their behavior. Before his passing, Mr. Mann was a member of the Conservation Group of the Boone and Crockett Club, a member of the Pope and Young Club, and a charter member of the P & Y Conservation Committee. He was nominated for induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He was twice named as the Governor’s Wildlife Conservationist of the Year in the State of Alabama. Now, with the relocation of the extensive collection, the Mann legacy has been continued by his family and dedicated themselves to the conservation of wildlife and the education of our citizens.

The Bear Family

Wildlife Conservation through Education

Of all the wonderful animals on earth, the bear family is my personal favorite. They will eat anything (meaning they are omnivorous). They also like to be alone and left alone (solitary) and they do not like humans. They fatten up for the winter and survive by wandering the wilderness to avoid the stress associated with man and his impact on himself and his environment. Yes, they even snore when sleeping. Bears hunt for food and they also like to fish for food. My smart wife is more right than wrong when she says I'm part bear! The main difference is that all bears are cannibalistic and will chase and attempt to kill any smaller bear. Some folks think that man is the biggest predator on bears. That probably is not so. The biggest predators of bears are other bears. A large male (boar) will mate with a sow (female) in May or June one year, cross the path of the sow and cubs the next summer after they leave the hibernation cave (the place of their birth), and attempt to eat them all!! We are not sure why this occurs, but it is a part of the behavior of bears. Modern wildlife research, such as using satellite telemetry collars, is teaching us more and more about all wildlife, especially bears. It has been apparent that in areas that allow recreational hunting and subsistence hunting of bears, the populations have increased. Where recreational hunting is not allowed, populations are stagnant or even dropping. This suggests that sportsmen have hunted the largest, oldest males, reducing the predation of the sow or the reproduction unit of the population, as well as the cubs or future reproduction units. A sow in some cases may be able to fend off a large male but in an area where there are many male bears, she will have little chance to raise a family to maturity. I have witnessed this predation (one animal preying on another for food) in the wild. I've seen Coastal Brown Bears, Black Bears, and Interior Grizzly Bears kill or attempt to kill both the cubs and the sow. I have talked to many Inuit’s (Eskimos) that have seen a polar bear catch and eat a sow and her cubs. Polar bears are marine mammals and only the females leave the pack ice to hibernate and have their young. The old boars never leave the pack ice. One fallacy that people have about bears is their diet. Only the polar bear eats a lot of meat. The Coastal Brown Bear, Black Bear, and Interior Grizzly Bear eat as much as 75% vegetation while the Polar Bear eats 98% meat (mostly seal).

George P. Mann
September 2000