Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hot, hot, hot!

One of the most common questions the zoo keepers are asked at this time of year is, "how do the polar bears handle this hot weather?" The answer? Air conditioning and chilled water. While polar bears in the wild would encounter temperatures similar to Minnesota summers in their Southern-most range, Polar Bear Odyssey which opened on June 3rd gives the bears some options to escape the heat when the temperatures climb too high. Neil and Buzz can often be found taking a dip in one of two pools that are chilled to 65 degrees. They also can be found taking a midday snooze in the air-conditioned "knuckle" the central transfer area between the two sides of the exhibit and one of two areas the public can watch the operant conditioning training that the zoo keepers do with the bears. When the zoo is closed, the bears have five holding areas to choose from complete with straw-filled "beds" where the temperature is kept at a chilly 62 degrees. When the zoo keepers start their day in the morning, we often get to see the bears bedded down as in the picture above.

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