Rocky and Felix were introduced this week
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The AquaZoo animal park in Leeuwarden has recently become home to a second polar bear, Rocky. The bear came to Friesland in January to acclimatise, and has been introduced to Felix, his new pen-mate. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân.
Rocky arrived in Friesland from a Belgian animal park following a successful breeding programme and is 18 years old. William Kreijkes, animal keeper at the AquaZoo emphasised the importance of successful breeding programmes for the species: “Polar bears are becoming endangered in the wild. In order to avoid their extinction a breeding programme has been set up.”
There are around 26,000 polar bears left in the wild. Global warming and rising sea temperatures are threatening the polar ice that the bears live on. “The bears sometimes have too little time to hunt on the ice. That means that their fat levels and weight suffer, and often they die as a result. The sea ice breaking means that polar bears have to travel further for food, with the result that they are sometimes killed by people, too”, says Kreijkes.
The AquaZoo previously had two bears, however another male bear called Nanu left the park in July 2019. Its enclosure is big enough for two, says Kreijkes; “the enclosure is built for two, with Rocky having a companion. 5,000 square metres is big enough for them to spend time together, or also seclude themselves.”