The Toledo Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of twin polar bear cubs on November 21. Thirteen-year-old mother Crystal is caring for the cubs off-exhibit, where the Zoo’s animal care staff is monitoring their progress through a monitor in the den.
“This is the fourth litter of polar bears the Zoo has had since 2006,” Dr. Randi Meyerson, curator of mammals, said. “I credit our success to high-quality animal care, the staff’s relationship with the animals, the bears’ good temperaments and an outstanding facility. When the Arctic Encounter® opened in 2000, it was a state-of-the-art facility, and it still is.”
The Zoo’s cubs have an important future as ambassadors for a species, protected under the Endangered Species Act, which faces grave threats in their native habitat. “Human activities have a direct effect on polar bears,” Dr. Meyerson said, “and their plight should encourage all of us to decrease our carbon footprint.”
In addition to being the curator of mammals, Dr. Meyerson coordinates the polar bear Species Survival Plan (SSP) established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Through this cooperative breeding and conservation program, zoos nationwide work together to maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations.
Because polar bears are also such charismatic animals, they offer an intriguing opportunity to interest people, particularly children, in engaging with nature and wildlife.The Zoo features polar bear themes prominently in its year-round education programs, from outreach and on-grounds programs to distance learning and youth camps. In October, 2012, the Zoo also hosted a climate change symposium, free and open to the public; experts from Polar Bears International (PBI) videoconferenced with the audience from a tundra buggy in Churchill, Manitoba, to discuss the impact of climate change on polar bears and the long-term impacts.
Jeff Sailer, the Zoo’s executive director, said, “As the number of polar bears in the wild decreases, it’s more important than ever that cubs in zoo settings serve as ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. We hope these cubs inspire our visitors to join us in caring for polar bears and their environment.”
The Toledo Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located on the Anthony Wayne Trail (US 25), four miles south of downtown Toledo. For more information, please visittoledozoo.org or call 419.385.4040. Lucas County residents are admitted free of charge each Monday from 10 a.m. to noon. ID showing proof of residency is required.
The Toledo Zoo is committed to inspiring others to join in caring for animals and conserving the natural world. As part of that mission, the Toledo Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a leader in global wildlife conservation. AZA member institutions are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors and a better future for all living things.
- Toledo Zoo | Toledo, OH