New home for Henry
Henry is a young polar bear who at the moment is busy being a young polar bear. He’s not thinking about relationships with girl polar bears just now but when he gets a little older and does he is going to find himself surrounded by riches aplenty.
Described by officials at Sea World in Queensland, Australia where he currently lives, as a “big, goofy and affable toddler,” Henry is making a move in October to the Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane, Ontario, Canada; he should arrive on Oct. 7. He’s just 2 years old, weighing in at 700 pounds, so it will be a few years until he’s put to work helping female polar bears to make baby polar bears.
But it’s not only a job Henry will surely enjoy, it’s one many polar bear enthusiasts are happy he will be doing. There are only an estimated 25,000 polar bears on the planet and births in captivity could be vital to keeping the species healthy. There are some 300 polar bears being cared for by humans in various facilities around the world.
“Henry’s father Nelson was an orphaned polar bear from Canada,” Trevor Long, marine science director at Sea World said. “And we think it is very, very important that Nelson’s genetics can actually flow back into that Canadian stud book and Henry can make a contribution to the captive breeding of polar bears.
“Henry is unlikely to come into a breeding situation until he’s about nine years old,” Long added. “But his genetic contribution is extremely important.”
Polar Bear Habitat grows
He will arrive at the Polar Bear Habitat around the time when a new enclosure will be finished for polar bears. After a 30-day quarantine to monitor his health, he’ll join another polar bear, there is only one currently living at the facility, in his new digs, a 6-hectare one that will include a natural lake. “When it’s finished, our bears will have the most space of any facility in the world dedicated to polar bears,” Karen Cummings of Polar Bear Habitat told the CBCs Up North radio program.
In a press release, Cummings noted that the age of two is about when polar bear moms tell their kids to consider leaving home, so it’s the perfect time for Henry to change addresses. He will join Ganuk, who’s a little older at 5-years-old (and bigger, at 900 lbs.). “We’re over the moon about Henry coming,” Cummings said. “He’s just what our facility needs – a new playful, trouble maker.”
So his new keepers will enjoy Henry, just as Henry will, one day, enjoy his new job.