Sea World Australia has extended its wishes to polar bear cub ‘Henry’ as it embarks on the next stage of his development. Henry is moving to the world-class Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in Canada on the 5th October to play an integral role in the International Polar Bear conservation and breeding program.
Henry was the first Polar bear born in Australia in 30 years, however at two years and four months he has reached a stage where his mum Liya would naturally wean him off and the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is the ideal place for this transition to occur.
Sea World is inviting guests to visit the park and join in Henry’s Bon Voyage ahead of his move to the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat.
Sea World’s Director of Marine Sciences, Trevor Long said the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is a world-class facility and he is confident that Henry will make an easy transition to this new environment.
“The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat shares the same dedication and standards as Sea World to the conservation, care and well-being of Polar bears and is the perfect place for Henry to continue his development,” Mr Long said.
“Henry has been a great ambassador for the Polar bear species in Australia with thousands of people visiting Sea World to watch his growth from being 600 grams at birth to his current weight of 275 kilograms and we are encouraging people to visit Sea World to take part in his bon voyage.
“With his wild genetics from his father Nelson and his mother Liya’s Russian genetic line not being included in the Canadian population, Henry is set to play a vital role in the International Polar Bear breeding program.
“Henry’s father Nelson was an orphaned bear rescued by the Quebec Government and with one of the best Polar bear exhibits, Sea World was chosen to house him. It is fitting now that his son, Henry is returning to Canada to continue to promote the global conservation efforts and strategies for Polar bears and the importance of Canada, which has the largest population of wild bears, to the species.
“As part of the natural process, Liya has weaned Henry and is displaying typical mating behaviours indicating she is ready to start breeding.”
The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is the only bear facility in the world dedicated solely to Polar bears and features exceptional animal care standards, educational programs, research partnerships and is an internationally respected centre.
Despite moving to the Cochrane facility, Henry will remain a part of Sea World’s Polar bear population with the Polar bear team continuing to have a role in his ongoing care.
Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat keeper and conservation coordinator, Dylan McCart said Henry will be a welcome addition to their facility.
“We pride ourselves in being a bear-centred facility with our bears having access to three large outdoor exhibits situated across two and half acres of northern Ontario terrain and equipped with water sources, trees, rocks and natural vegetation,” Mr McCart said.
Sea World’s Polar Bears are ambassadors for their species and play a vital role in raising awareness of the effects of global warming. Current research indicates that Polar bear numbers in the wild are declining, with 20,000 – 25,000 bears remaining worldwide.