The great and small game of India, Burma, and Tibet- Page 375
How true is this?
I find this a little doubtful as the polar bear's claws are acctually thicker than that of tigers which have managed to kill sloth bears and the polar bear having a thicker coat than the sloth bear should be more protected from the sloth bear's claws rather than vice versa.
Last Edit: Dec 21, 2011 18:12:32 GMT -9 by Deleted
An interesting account there, yet there is an account posted here saying the polar bear can usually kill any big cat but lions have been seen killing polar bears and another regarding the female polar bear name velox killing two full grown lions on seperate occassions. Big bons has further mention an account of a polar bear acctually killing a tiger though it itself died from getting overheated and tigers usually come out the winner when in confrontations with sloth bears. Yet polar bears do not grow to their full size outside their natural environment and thats why Singapore zoo decided to stop taking anymore polar bears. The female polar bear Inuka was too old to be released back into the wild sadly and if you have seen her, she is extremely small in size.
"...Yet polar bears do not grow to their full size outside their natural environment and thats why Singapore zoo decided to stop taking anymore polar bears..." It's very interesting to note : Some general remarks :
"...Polar bears are well adapted for thermoregulation in the extreme cold conditions of the Arctic. Normal body temperature of a resting polar bear is 37°C (98.6° F), quite similar to other mammals (Best 1982, Stirling 1988). Additionally a combination of fur and hide properties, and 9 up to 11 centimeters (4.5 in.) of blubber all serve as excellent insulators and operate to maintain body temperature and metabolic rate at near normal levels even at environmental temperatures of -37° C (-34° F) (Stirling 1988). However, polar bears are susceptible to overheating (Best 1982, Stirling 1988). Polar bears radiate heat from their muzzle, nose, ears, footpads, and insides of the thighs, and also, apparently, from blood vessels in the shoulder region which lie only a few millimeters under the skin (Stirling 1988). Polar bears can also cool off by swimming, since water conducts heat about 20 times more efficiently than air (Stirling 1988). For young cubs, however, swimming may be dangerous if it chills their body too much (Blix and Lentfer 1979, Stirling 1988). Bears also conserve body temperature by curling into a ball when exposed to extremely cold, windy weather, or sprawl out to keep cool on warm days (Stirling 1988). Bears in warm areas like Hudson Bay also move very little in the summer in order to stay cool and conserve energy (Knudsen 1978, Derocher and Stirling 1990)..." Source: alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/polarbear/pdf/Polar_Bear_%20Status_Assessment.pdf
"...There are currently about 1,000 polar bears held captive in zoos around the world. Most of them are held in hard, biologically deficient exhibits that are a key factor in their physical and mental deterioration. A wide range of problems, including aberrant behaviours like repetitive pacing and swimming, poor cardiovascular health and lack of muscle mass, are more or less ubiquitous in captive polar bears..." Source: www.zoocheck.com/calgaryCorpAffairsemail.html AND: Polar bears are poor candidates for captivity, even in the best of circumstances. They are extremely wide-ranging, highly intelligent, cold weather carnivores, so they are extremely problematic to house and care for in captivity. In fact, many experts believe they are one of the species most ill-suited to captivity..." "...Studies by researchers at Oxford University have indicated that the fact that polar bears have large home ranges in the wild may be the reason why they suffer problems in captivity such as stereotypical behaviour and high infant mortality..." "...Zoos in other countries e.g. the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany have stopped keeping polar bears on welfare grounds.2 The polar bear specialist group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) does not advocate captive breeding of polar bears..."
"... female polar bear Inuka was too old to be released back into the wild sadly and if you have seen her, she is extremely small in size..."
"...Polar bears are adapted to the Arctic cold and cannot physiologically adapt to a Singapore’s tropical climate. The polar bears at the Singapore Zoo are housed in an open-air enclosure and show clear signs that they are suffering from heat stress. Inuka and Sheba spent 36.0 per cent and 38.7 per cent of the time panting respectively. Inuka and Sheba also spent 23.6 per cent and 14.3 per cent of the time lying flat respectively. 7. Sheba was born in a German zoo and came to Singapore as a cub and Inuka was born in Singapore, therefore it is true that neither bear has experienced the conditions in the Arctic. However, this does not mean that the bears can somehow have physically ‘adapted’ to the climate in Singapore. They still possess all the physiological adaptations to life in the Arctic. Singapore Zoo obviously recognises the fact that climate in Singapore is hot and it is uncomfortable to be outdoors in the heat as it offers air-conditioned restaurants and six spacious airconditioned shelters purely for visitors to cool off as they walk around the zoo. 9. In 2005, there was much public debate in Singapore over the keeping of Arctic dogs in a tropical country following the death of an Alaskan Malamut who died after being left out in the sun by its owner. Former Singapore Zoo chief Bernard Harrison agreed that keeping the dogs in Singapore is “crazy”. “They are simply not designed for this kind of weather” he said. The polar bear enclosure at Singapore Zoo is undersized, barren, poorly designed, does not accommodate any soft substrates and does little to satisfy the biological and behavioural needs of the bears. The polar bear enclosure only provides approximately 0.0000005 per cent of the polar bear’s natural home range. 11. Both Inuka and Sheba displayed a high level of inactivity, 42.5 per cent and 64.6 per cent respectively. Inuka and Sheba also both displayed a high level of abnormal stereotypic behaviours, accounting for 64.5 per cent and 56.7 per cent of the active periods respectively. Stereotypies in captive animals have been associated with poor welfare for five decades.8 The expression of stereotypic behaviour is “the most common visible sign of psychological disorder in all species of zoo bears”. Obvious physical signs of distress in both bears are evident. Both have exhibited substantial fur loss and both appear to have lost a lot of lean muscle mass..." Singapore Zoo does not meet the minimum requirements stated in the Province of Manitoba (Canada) Polar Bear Protection Act 2003. The Act includes a set of specific requirements regarding the keeping of polar bears in captivity.11 These guidelines outline the minimum standards of care and husbandry that must be satisfied by those institutions seeking orphaned polar bears from Manitoba. 16. Singapore Zoo also fails to follow many of the recommendations in relation to enclosure and husbandry standards for polar bears made in guidelines on bear/polar bear husbandry written by zoological associations and animal welfare organisations. Etc,etd..........
"...Visitors to the tropical Suarez Bros. Circus are horrified to see skinny, lethargic, filthy, diseased polar bears languishing far from their frigid, arctic homes. These nomadic polar bears are forced to perform in the hot, humid regions of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Video footage shows the overheated bears panting constantly while being hit, whipped, and forced to do ridiculous, frightening, and degrading tricks..."
"I will venture to guess and say this was a young polar bear. Captive polar bears are often subject to deplorable living conditions and poor diet; this is especially true of performing/menagerie bears."
Very good point ,young polar bear or/and in very poor condition. BTW.
Polar bears are among the most controversial animals kept in zoos. As the widest ranging terrestrial mammal on earth, polar bears are uniquely adapted to survive in vast territories and cold weather conditions. Their natural environments and lifestyles cannot be replicated in even the best captive situations. Most polar bear exhibits are currently exhibited in antiquated, artificial and unsuccessful exhibits. But even the newest, most modern exhibits are not much better. There have been no polar bear enclosures constructed yet that satisfy the full range of biological and behavioural polar bear needs. According to British veterinarian/zoo inspector Dr. John Gripper, “In my visits and inspections of zoos around the world, I find that the polar bear is probably the most difficult animal to confine in a zoo enclosure without showing abnormal behaviour.” Stefan Abbott Ormrod in his report A Review of Captive Polar Bears In Great Britain and Ireland (1992), “It is clear that polar bears have great difficulty in adjusting to the conditions of captivity. This is especially clear when one examines the widespread incidence of aberrant behaviours.” In his book Last Animals At The Zoo, Colin Tudge states that, “Polar bears have been a huge challenge to zoos. They are ‘easy to keep alive’, and they breed reasonably well these days but they are among the most notorious of all stereotypers: pacing and head-rolling. Even zoo enthusiasts have often doubted whether polar bears should be kept in captivity.” David Hancocks, former Director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, in Wild Mammals In Captivity: Principles and Techniques, discusses the typical grotto style exhibit that many bears, including polar bears, are still displayed in, “These grottoes, like the equally ubiquitous pits of the nineteenth century zoos, were used principally for large mammals, especially bears, or, when built in the round (with an island in the middle), for monkeys. Sometimes made of bricks or concrete, but most often with rocks, either real or artificial, these exhibits were heralded as naturalistic and humane. Yet, invariably these fanciful versions of caves and hills, devoid of anything alive except the pacing animal, were featureless and bland places. The rockwork was oppressive and pervasive, built as clumsy replicas of arbitrarily invented geological formations. The grottoes’ lack of subtlety was worsened by their monotonous repetition in zoos all over the world. The animals were kept contained in the open air, but nothing else was achieved.” In The Behaviour of Captive Polar Bears, scientist Alison Ames writes, “Enclosure designs and husbandry routines for captive polar bears have been as stereotyped as the animals themselves. Preconceived ideas about the animals’ abilities, antiquated facilities, and lack of financial support, have resulted in zoos providing their bears with extremely predictable and basic husbandry routines. This type of captive management can no longer be considered acceptable. To maintain wild-type behaviour in captivity, it is necessary to fit environmental conditions to the animal, rather than expecting the animal to adapt to the conditions imposed upon it.” Clearly, most, if not all, existing polar bear enclosures are inadequate. Undersized, hard and barren, they do little to encourage species-typical behaviours that would make a polar bear’s life in captivity tolerable. Of considerable concern is the fact that polar bears in many zoos cannot obtain proper relief from the heat. Polar bears have evolved to live in extremely cold climates and are physiologically and behaviourally adapted to cold conditions, so they suffer considerably in warm climates. While some zoos make efforts to address climate concerns, these efforts inevitably fail to address the problems over the long-term. Polar bears require vast, natural spaces and consistently cool climates. Most existing exhibits are antiquated, artificial and unsuccessful. While polar bears may still be popular with the public, they are among the worst candidates for captivity. Their natural living conditions and lifestyles cannot be replicated in even the best circumstances www.zoocheck.com/calgary/Case%20against%20PB%20in%20captivity%20RL.pdf
The Dramatic Rescue of Bärle, the Circus Polar Bear For 13 years, a female polar bear endured neglect, scorching heat and near-starvation as one of the star attractions at a tropical circus. Then she was rescued.
By Else Poulsen from Bärle's Story: One Polar Bear's Amazing Recovery From Life as a Circus Act (Greystone Books) Also in Reader's Digest Magazine December 2014
On a south-facing slope in northern Canada, chunks of snow roll down the hummock from an underground disturbance. When the surface finally erupts, out pops the head of a female polar bear. She inhales through her nose and exhales through her mouth.
Four months earlier, the bear had given birth to twins. Delicately furred, they tucked into her belly for warmth and food. She licked her cubs to keep them clean, nudging them back into place when they squirmed away.
At four weeks, they could hear, and at five weeks, their eyes opened fully. By their sixth week, they were trying to walk. Soon it was time for a move—the space was too small and cramped, as the cubs trampled all over their mother and each other.
The female emerges from her den for the first time in eight months. She slides down the knoll on her belly, then rolls onto her back, wiggling in the snow to clean her fur. In seconds, two little heads pop from the crater. The cubs try to scramble down the hill, until, giving up control, they tumble like balls into their mother.
Bärle’s life could have begun this way. It’s thought that she was born and raised on the west bank of Hudson Bay in 1984. Records suggest she may have been sent to Germany in 1986 through the Manitoba Polar Bear Export Program. Developed by biologists, conservation officers, and government officials, the program was dedicated, in large part, to relocating orphaned cubs to facilities abroad. In Germany, Bärle (pronounced “bear-la”) ended up with animal trainer Fredy Gafner. Shortly after 1990, Gafner took his bear show to the Mexican Suarez Brothers Circus.
For 13 years, Bärle and six other polar bears (Alaska, Royal, Willy, Masha, Boris, and Kenny) were forced to perform pantomimes of human behaviors: walking upright while climbing stairs, dancing to music, and playing with balls. Bärle was denied not only the ability to run, swim, and climb but also the chance to find a mate, raise young, and hunt. She endured mental and physical pain—trainers whipped the bears on the face, head, and hindquarters—as well as a sweltering Caribbean environment hostile to her polar-bred sensibilities.
Over five million years, polar bears have evolved to handle extreme cold. They can overheat when the temperature rises above -4°F, forcing them to plunge into the ocean or lie on their backs on a frozen surface—options unavailable to Bärle. Heat’s effect on a polar bear is dramatic. While humans sweat to stay cool, bears don’t. They must pant to cool off, so the hotter it is, the more frequent the panting. A polar bear’s normal respiration rate is between ten and 30 breaths per minute, with 30 being the high end after exertion. The suspected rate for the circus bears? Sixty, while lying still. As a result, they were dehydrated and scrawny.
When not performing, Bärle and her peers were warehoused in a trailer divided into seven 64-square-foot metal cages. They had to lie diagonally if they wanted to rest on their bellies, curl up into a C shape to lie on their sides, or put their feet against the wall to lie on their backs. Animal investigators documented temperatures as high as 113°F next to their cages.
Bärle would likely never have been rescued had it not been for Ken and Sherri Gigliotti, a Canadian couple. In 1996, the Winnipeg residents took a wedding anniversary trip to Cozumel, Mexico, where they visited the Suarez Brothers Circus. They were shocked by the polar bears’ appearance and conditions, so they brought home a circus program and shared it with the Winnipeg Free Press. When the newspaper published the photos later that year, it triggered an international outcry. “We were told some of the bears came from Churchill, Manitoba, and we are from Winnipeg,” said Ken, explaining why they were determined to bring evidence of the bears’ suffering back to Canada. “That made it personal to us, and we were appalled that these magnificent animals could be so out of place and so far from home.”
Soon after the Free Press story appeared, Debbie Leahy, then director of Captive Animal Rescue and Enforcement at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, began investigating the Suarez Brothers Circus. She watched the bears perform several times, and once she received a behind-the-scenes tour. During each visit, the bears were panting and filthy. The stench of urine filled the tent, and flies were everywhere. “It was horrifying,” Leahy said.
Leahy devoted herself to the bears’ rescue. She inspired government officials, community leaders, zoo directors, veterinarians, and celebrities to advocate for them. In 2002, the Manitoba government passed the Polar Bear Protection Act, which stipulated that only orphaned cubs under two years of age were eligible for zoo placement and that to be considered, zoos must satisfy strict standards.
Due to mounting pressure from interest groups, complaints from the public, and regular visits from USDA inspectors, the Suarez Brothers Circus chose to abandon its seven polar bears in Puerto Rico. On November 5, 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially seized custody of the animals, and two weeks later, preparations were made for their transit.
barle the polar bearBill Pugliano / Getty Images In mid-November, the bears, known as the Suarez Seven, were airlifted out of the Caribbean. A FedEx plane deposited them at zoos across the United States; Detroit, Bärle’s new home, was the final stop. As an animal-behavior expert who had studied bears for a decade, I had been given the task of her rehabilitation. I went with my colleagues from the Detroit Zoo to the airport, where we took possession of the crate containing Bärle.
After our van arrived at the zoo, our team piled out of the vehicle. A gurney was wheeled near the loading dock, and the back doors of the van were opened. When all was in place, we reentered the van and surrounded the crate. On the count of three, we heaved our cargo—weighing 400 pounds—and slid it forward to the gurney. Bärle’s conduct caught me off guard: There was no huffing, jaw snapping, or crouching in a corner, which seemed out of character for a bear. Thinking about her life, I realized that probably the only reprieve she got from her trainers was while she was traveling. In her crate, she couldn’t get hit or hurt. Maybe that’s why she was so calm. But if her crate offered her the only refuge she’d known in her 13 years, would we be able to coax her out of it and into her new quarters?
We wheeled the crate from the loading dock and into the quarantine area—where she would be spending the next 30 days—and pushed one end of the crate to rest on the entrance of her enclosure. While my colleagues chained the crate onto the enclosure fence to secure it for Bärle’s exit, I began interacting with her, hoping to demonstrate we were harmless. In my years of rehabilitating wildlife, I had learned a valuable lesson: First impressions count. I take no chances with charm; I buy my way in. With Bärle, I had grapes—sweet, juicy grapes.
I crouched in front of her, and we locked eyes. Like humans, bears communicate using a combination of words (in their case, sounds that have specific meaning) and body language. I pushed a grape through the crate’s metal mesh and held it up to her nose. Never taking her eyes off mine, she gently held the fruit with her lips and then intentionally dropped it, with what seemed to be a smile. I’ve experienced this behavior before with bears and interpret it as politeness. A bear may not want or need what I’m offering but will take it if it wants the interaction to continue. If annoyed, it will refuse the object, refuse to make eye contact, and express aggression with paw slamming or huffing.
I didn’t know if Bärle had ever tasted grapes before. Her diet in the circus had consisted largely of old bread, lettuce, carrots, and cheap dog food. I offered her a second grape, which she took with her lips and ate. Her smile hadn’t waned. It didn’t matter to me if she ate the fruit or not; my objective was to show her we could be trusted so that she’d feel comfortable enough to leave the crate.
Bärle’s face was a curious wash of age and youth. She was a small bear with a head no bigger than mine. Her fur was a mess. The long guard hairs were broken or missing, her undercoat was matted, and bald spots revealed flaky black skin. Her facial muscles had atrophied, giving her the sunken appearance of an abused bear. She looked older than her 18 years—in captivity, polar bears can live until their late 30s—yet a cub-like innocence shone through her expression. The complexity of it and her radiance drew me in.
Michelle Seldon, associate curator of mammals, told me the crate was locked in place. “It’s time,” she said. I tossed a trail of grapes from the crate to a room where a straw nest awaited. I stepped out of the enclosure and locked the door, and we lifted the slides between the enclosure and the crate.
Bärle stayed seated. I called her name. One ear rotated in my direction. She inhaled, assessing her environment. She took one step, then another over the threshold. Fighting to contain our delight, we slowly closed the slides behind her. For us humans, this moment was deeply moving. Some staff members had tears in their eyes; we were shutting the door on Bärle’s circus life forever.
No doubt she had detected the drop in temperature, the grapes, and straw so fresh, you could smell its sweetness. Bärle feigned interest in the grapes. Then she moved forward, gaining speed down the hall to the straw. She approached it cautiously, first mouthing and smelling it, putting a paw in, then mowing her belly through it, and finally falling over in a full-body roll-and-rub dance. With straw caught in her dreadlocked coat, she fell asleep. Like relieved parents, we turned out the lights and softly closed the door.
Over the next decade, Bärle thrived in her new habitat—a four-acre tundra enclosure with an outdoor cave, two pools, and wood-chip beds. The area was already home to seven other polar bears, and Bärle became close to a male named Triton. On November 22, 2004, she gave birth to a female cub named Talini. In 2012, Bärle died at the age of 27 from liver cancer.