At the Detroit Zoo
Visitors can watch three polar bears gracefully swim above their heads in the Arctic Ring of Life’s 70-foot-long Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage. Female Talini was born at the Detroit Zoo in 2004. Male Nuka, also born in 2004, arrived in 2011 from the Pittsburgh Zoo as a potential mate for Talini. The polar bears’ habitat includes grassy tundra, a freshwater pool, a “pack ice” area and a 300,000-gallon salt water pool. The Arctic Ring of Life is North America's largest polar bear exhibit, which also houses seals and arctic foxes. This state-of-the-art, interactive facility encompasses over 4 acres of outdoor and indoor exhibits and was named the second-best exhibit at any zoo in the U.S. by The Intrepid Traveler's guide to America's Best Zoos.
The polar bear has a dense, thick undercoat of skin protected by an outer coat of long, transparent fur. The sun's reflection from the dark skin through the transparent fur gives the illusion of a white coat. Its waterproof fur will stick together when wet and act as an insulator.
Scientific name: Ursus maritimus
Continent: The northern-most parts of North America, Asia and Europe
Habitat: Islands, coastlines and arctic pack ice
Size: 6-9 feet tall
Weight: 450-1,400 pounds
Diet: The polar bear is a carnivore and mainly hunts ringed and bearded seals.
Reproduction: Gestation eight months; one to four cubs
Lifespan: 21-24 years
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Because it receives liquids from the prey it eats, the polar bear does not have to drink water.
The polar bear is the largest land carnivore and the most carnivorous member of the bear family since its diet heavily relies on seals.
Detroit Zoo Polar Bear in the News
Watch the polar bear feature by Joe Ballor of the Daily Tribune here