Celebrate International Polar Bear Day at the Zoo!

Posted February 23, 2018 by Julianne Werts

Many people admire this large white bear that inhabits the Arctic, but did you know there is an entire day dedicated to the species and their conservation? February 27th is International Polar Bear Day, a global event meant to draw attention to the challenges polar bears face in the wild and the ways that we can help protect them. This event is founded by Polar Bears International (PBI), an organization made up of scientists, conservationists, and volunteers with the purpose of securing a future for polar bears across the Arctic.

Lower thermostat to 68 degrees (vance.af.mil)
Lower the thermostat to 68 degrees (Photo: vance.af.mil)

The Zoo partners with PBI as an Arctic Ambassador Center to help save polar bears and their habitat by reducing carbon emissions to slow climate change and encouraging our supporters to do the same.

On February 27th, we will have an International Polar Bear Day event, presented by Cold Jet, where you can join us to learn more about these amazing animals through interactive discovery stations and special animal encounters. You can also help us make it a global day of action by simply turning your thermostat down a couple degrees. Participating in this Thermostat Challenge at your home, work, or school helps you save energy and reduce your carbon emissions. Make every day Polar Bear Day by continuing this energy-saving practice. It can even save you money while helping global climate change at the same time!

Solar panels in parking lot
Solar panels in parking lot

As the Greenest Zoo in America, we are always working to be more energy efficient. We harness renewable energy through solar panels, geothermal wells, and a wind turbine. We even help save energy with our polar bear habitat by using more energy efficient cooling systems to keep our water at those cool temperatures that our polar bears enjoy.

Anana and Little One (Michelle Curley)
Anana and Little One (Photo: Michelle Curley)


We currently have two polar bears at the Zoo. Anana is 17 years old, and she came to us a little over a year ago on a breeding recommendation from the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP). As she has gotten to know Little One, our 28 year old male, better they have been spending more time together. We are hopeful that they will have cubs in the near future, though we haven’t observed any breeding behavior yet.

As we wait, our CREW scientists continue their research of polar bear reproduction, working to learn more about contraception, reproductive processes, and the development of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). This research is a large part of our partnership with PBI. The more that is learned about individuals in zoos across the country, the better we can help those that still exist in the wild.

Swimming polar bear (Photo: Lisa Hubbard)
Swimming polar bear (Photo: Lisa Hubbard)

So as you come to watch Anana and Little One swim and play in the water on International Polar Bear Day, know that the Zoo is doing everything they can to ensure that wild polar bears are just as safe and healthy as those in our care. You can do the same by joining us in the Thermostat Challenge today and throughout the year!