Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zoo Observation

At the Como Zoo, I decided to observe the polar bear. When observing, I noticed that the bear kept doing the exact same motions... over and over again. I began to feel bad for it in all honesty. It would swim to the wall, push its legs against the rock, and then glide backward on its back.

After observing the mammal for half an hour, I made my way over to Lynne, a polar bear expert. Here is a list of questions and answers from the conversation I had with her (I apologize for her answers being choppy. I had to quickly record them):

Q: What is their diet?
A: "Seals/omnivores. The Zoo feeds them prepared food (dog food) 20lbs to 40lbs a day, depending on the season. Polar bears only eat the blubber off of seals, [a prime example of] ecology. One animal there for each other. If the females don't eat enough calories they cannot get pregnant."

Q: Is the habitat at the zoo good for them?
A: "It's very similar to Churchill, Canada, which is the polar capital in the world."

Q: Can you tell me more about these specific bears at Como?
A: "We have two polar bears. They are very playful, curious, and dangerous. Very unpredictable. [They are] poorly studied because of cold conditions and darkness. Very solitary animals. The ones studied the most are in Churchill, Canada. There are seven populations and ones in the Artic are more endangered."

A: What is global warming's effect on the polar bears?
Q: "The oceans warming is causing the food the seals eat to lessen, which lessens the seals, which lessens the polar bears food."

A: What are some random or fun facts about them?
Q: "They have bad eyesight so they have developed good smell through the ice. [They can smell] five to six miles away even, wow! They gain four inches of fat in the winter to keep warm. They have translucent hair, which is very sparkly. And they have black skin."

A: Are they becoming extinct for sure?
Q: "It's too early to tell."

A: Do you ever physically interact with them?
Q: "No. A person will never be in the cage with a bear. The animals are trained to do medical exams, so the zookeepers do not need to tranquilize them. [The bears literally] present a paw to have blood drawn. [If they cooperate they] get [rewarded with] frozen lard."





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