Archive: Celebrate International Polar Bear Day at the Detroit Zoo February 23 and 27

Activities will highlight issues facing species in the wild

February 18, 2019

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is hosting free activities at the Detroit Zoo’s award-winning Arctic Ring of Life to celebrate International Polar Bear Day and raise awareness of the conservation concerns facing this iconic species. Two events – one on Saturday, Feb. 23, and another on Wednesday, Feb. 27 – will include zookeeper talks and educational activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Saturday’s event will also feature photo opportunities with the DZS’s polar bear mascot.

“Our hope is that the million-plus people who visit the Detroit Zoo each year leave here with a greater understanding of the issues facing polar bears in the wild and the realization that everyone can do something to help save these animals and their arctic habitat,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer.

The polar bears will receive special treats in their habitat at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Animal care staff will share information about the personalities and behaviors of polar bears Suka and Nuka immediately following each feeding.

Education stations will include Zoomy handheld microscopes that will provide an up-close look at the fur of a polar bear to see that it’s not actually white but rather translucent and hollow – the sun’s reflection off the bear’s dark skin gives the illusion of a white coat. “Blubber gloves” will demonstrate how blubber serves as insulation for these marine mammals, keeping them warm despite their icy climate.

Polar bear facts will be incorporated into footprints placed throughout the 70-foot-long Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, a clear tunnel that winds through the polar bears’ underwater environment as the animals swim above and around. Children will have the opportunity to compare themselves to a life-size polar bear cut-out in the Nunavut Gallery.