Polar Bears Birthday Bash!


Posted by to The Blog on December 5th

The Highland Wildlife Park is throwing a special joint birthday party for two very special animal residents – as the UK’s only polar bears on public display, Arktos and Walker, turn another year older!

Walker welcomed his new polar play pal, Arktos, earlier this year and ever since both bears have become inseparable. Keepers quickly realised that for their first birthdays together, only one thing would do…a joint polar party, fit for these two boisterous boys in their six acre bachelor pad enclosure!

At over 450kg each, making them amongst the largest four and five year olds in the Highlands, these youngsters still have a little more growing left to do. Growing boys need their food, so to mark their fourth and fifth birthdays keepers have constructed two cakes, the ice cakes are complete with fish and topped with a few tasty sardines as an extra birthday treat, that are sure to go down well with the birthday boys themselves.

Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at Highland Wildlife Park, said:

“There is a slight age gap between the boys, Arktos is now five and Walker is just a year younger at four years old. They quickly built up a strong bond from the word go, taking to each other extremely well and since that initial introduction last April they have been spending the vast majority of their time together. They can often be spotted splashing and swimming in their pond, wrestling playfully and even feeding nose to nose – they definitely have a healthy competitive relationship that you’d expect from two young bears.

“There are only a few days between their individual birthdays, so for their first birthday together we thought it would only be fitting to throw them a joint birthday party. Walker and Arktos both love their food, and this means they can sometimes get a bit feisty if one is getting fed before the other. However to stop any food envy the birthday bears will be able to sink their teeth into their very own birthday ice cakes filled with lots of different fish and topped with some of their favourite treats, including sardines.

“They are both still sub-adults and it won’t be for around another two years or so before both males are fully grown and sexually mature. But as male polar bears are much more sociable there is still many years of wrestling and chasing one another for these young polar bears to come!”

Info

Arktos was born on the 30th November 2007

Walker was born on 7th December 2008

Walker arrived at Highland Wildlife Park in 2010 from Rhenen Zoo in the Netherlands

Walker was joined by Arktos in April 2012 from Hannover Zoo in Germany

Polar bear essentials

Polar bears have 42 razor sharp teeth and their canines are larger and longer than another bears. Both their carnassials and molars are sharper and used for shearing and biting, not for grinding, due to polar bears being almost exclusively carnivorous.

Underneath their thick, white fur coat – perfect camouflage for their snowy surroundings – polar bears actually have black skin, ideal for soaking up the heat of the sun’s rays.

These majestic animals are the land giants of the Arctic and have no natural predators.

Extremely strong swimmers, their large paddle like front paws are slightly webbed – their rear legs are only used to steer when swimming.

Perfectly adapted to living in freezing temperatures they have fur  that grows on their paws helping to insulate them against the icy cold surface they walk on

 

About the Highland Wildlife Park

The Highland Wildlife Park is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (For further information on all our conservation projects and events), please visit our websites www.highlandwildlifepark.org or www.rzss.org.uk

You can also find the Highland Wildlife Park on social media:

Facebook www.facebook.com/highlandwildlifepark

Twitter  www.twitter.com/HighlandWPark

YouTube www.youtube.com/highlandwildlifepark

 

The Highland Wildlife Park specialises in Scottish species, past and present, and other cold weather adapted animals from around the world.

 

This June the Highland Wildlife Park celebrated its 40th anniversary.  Opened in 1972, the Park covers 200 acres and is located within the Cairngorms National Park.

 

 

One response to “Polar Bears Birthday Bash!”

  1. Ben Ulrich says:

    That takes the term, "fish cake" to a whole other level. In a good way, it's a little amusing to think that there would be actual birthday cakes for animals as well.

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