YOU (South Africa)
With proper bear companionship, Nora’s mental health improved and she was able to come off her antidepressants and tranquillisers. Now, with plans afoot to move Hope to a Chicago Zoo for mating, Nora is preparing to return to Oregon Zoo to be the first inhabitant of its new Polar Passage habitat where she’ll be able to play in piles of ice and swim in two huge saltwater pools. Another female will join her later in the year.
It’s estimated that there are currently around 300 polar bears in zoos worldwide. They can never be released because they wouldn’t be able to cope in the wild.
Although it’s not ideal for them to be in captivity, Steven Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, says that with the species facing extinction as a result of global warming, zoos have a critical role to play in their conservation.
“Polar bears have captured the human imagination like no other animal,” he says. “Modern zoos offer a unique opportunity to explain the threats they face.”
He says that deeply reduced populations may one day benefit from genes reintroduced to the wild from zoo populations.
“Given the alternatives, not preparing for the day when polar bears might be candidates for the assistance from zoos is imprudent.” EXTRA SOURCE: TIMES.CO.UK