Toronto Zoo is proud to be a leader in polar bear conservation and a champion for Canada’s vulnerable majestic species. The Zoo is involved in collaborative research projects with multiple accredited zoos and organizations to help better understand polar bear reproductive biology, nutrition and behaviour studies. This scientific research then provides valuable information to support polar bear education, research and conservation efforts both at the Zoo and in the wild. Some of these organizations include Polar Bears International (PBI), Parks Canada, the North American Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), and Acres for the Atmosphere.
Polar bear keepers are very passionate about working with this iconic Canadian species and behavioural training with the polar bears is an important component of their daily routine. Training exercises a variety of husbandry behaviours that allow Keepers to give the best possible care for the five polar bears at the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto Zoo polar bears are also trained to allow voluntary injections for vaccines and blood draws. These behaviours not only keep the polar bears physically healthy, but mentally stimulated and engaged.
Toronto Zoo biologists and researchers work closely with their wildlife biologist counterparts in the field with valuable learning and studies that can be applied to polar bear conservation in the wild. The knowledge gained through polar bears in our care provide invaluable information that is shared internationally and is essential for the survival of this vulnerable species. This is very important as biologists estimate there are only approximately 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the wild with approximately 60% of those living in Canada.
The Zoo will continue to celebrate International Polar Bear Day into the weekend with a NEW Polar Dip event on Saturday, March 2, 2019! Participants will have the chance to “dip” into icy-cold waters to raise awareness for polar species conservation. The Toronto Zoo is a champion for Canada’s majestic polar bears listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as they are at risk of becoming endangered due to climate change. Proceeds from the Toronto Zoo Polar Dip challenge will support the Toronto Zoo’s role in scientific research, education and saving and protecting the polar bear for future generations.