Friday, January 28, 2011

Polar Bear reaches National milestone!

Female Polar Bear Ulu, celebrated a milestone birthday last month! At 30 years old, Ulu is believed to be the oldest Polar Bear, living in a United States Zoo. She was born in the wilds of Churchill, Canada. Her family would travel down into town to scavenge for food, so her age was easy to estimate. With some zoo animal residents, an approximate birthday is given and hers is listed as December 19, 1980. After a second offense in town, Ulu was held in bear jail until being rescued by the San Francisco Zoo, where she has made her home since 1984.

Ulu isn't your typical Polar Bear and I've often heard passersby say, "What kind of bear is that?!" , as Ulu is most often seen spending her time happily in her meadow. The meadow is a middle grotto between the two Polar Bears, both are given access, but Ulu who seems to really get into it. There she digs in the dirt, rolls in the grass and then turns up and gives you a big smile! She does her own thing (which also includes playing with stuffed animals) and is one happy bear!

Ulu and her Bear neighbors all have birthdays late in the year and into the new year. Andean Bear Wishbone turned 24 on October 25, Polar Bear Pike, 28 on November 25th, and the Grizzly sisters Kiona and Kachina turned 8 on January 1st.

A favorite among visitors, they have many fans. Fans and frequent visitors to the Zoo’s Bear Grottos are two friends who met at the Zoo, Kim and Lee. With the support of some Keepers and approved by the former Veterinarian, they made Enrichment toys for some of the animals, including the Bears, for the most part of 2010. One of their main passions is celebrating Birthdays and although Zoo management is not interested celebrating birthdays, the Bears two biggest fans were still able to show their love and go all out to celebrate all the Bears birthdays!

Timing unfortunately made it impossible to celebrate the birthdays on the actual dates, but birthdays are a celebration of life, no matter what day you choose! The Grotto-wide Bear Party finally took place last Saturday January 22nd and all the Bears had a great time at their party!

All the Bears celebrated with a three tier Birthday cake with their age at the top, made of boxes that are reinforced with a paper mache mixture to make them bear tough! They each also had a paper mache ball and party bag! All filled by their Keeper with Bear favorite treats!

Happy Birthday Bears!

For the purpose of this article about a milestone reached, I only posted one photo, but please visit my photosite at the link to view photos of all the precious Bears enjoying their birthday celebrations!

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