Polar bears are very rarely in captivity, due to the hundreds of miles of land they like to roam, to the vast distances they swim. In zoos, they are often seen to display negative behaviour such as rocking, head swaying and swimming endless figures of 8’s. However, due to their natural habitat being in grave danger of melting, more polar bears are being taken into captivity.
There is a zoo in Scotland, the Highland Wildlife Park, which has THREE of the arctic bears. There are two males and one female (the only female in the UK!)
This is Victoria
She was born on the 12th of December, 1996. She has her own custom made enclosure which allows her a lot of space to roam. She is kept separately from the other two males, to replicate the behaviour seen in the wild where the two will join to mate. The Highland Wildlife Park dedicates over 10 acres to the polar bears, which is more than any other zoo in the world.
This is Arktos
Arktos was received from Hanover Zoo, in April 2012. He was born on the 30th of November 2007.
The other polar bear shown here is Walker. He was received from Rhenen Zoo, in the Netherlands in October 2010. He was born there on the 7th of December, 2008. Both Walker and Arktos get along very well, and have become inseparable with a very close bond.
As well as the Highlands Wildlife Park, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park also homes polar bears Victor, Nissan and Pixel.
Below is 22 month Nissan, brought from Russia to Yorkshire’s award winning Project Polar. You’ll be glad to know Nissan is settling in well and getting to know both Victor and Pixel well.
Polar Bears in the wild can be found in the Arctic Circle: Russia, Alaska, the North Pole, Canada, Scandinavia, Greenland and Baffin Islands. They are excellent swimmers due to their water resistent coats, and their webbed feet, which allows them to catch seals, young walrus’, beluga whales, fish and seabirds. However, in the summer months they will also graze on moss, berries and lichens.
Due to global warming, their habitats are under threat. The ice is needed for them to amongst hunting grounds, which has severe effects on the polar bears: giving them less time to hunt and gain weight for the summer month fasts. As a result, the bears have been placed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list as critically endangered, as there are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 bears left in the wild.
The Highland Wildlife Park have the polar bears on the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
You can adopt Victoria, Arktos or Walker via the website.
Or a chance to MEET Viktor, Nissan or Pixel via this website.