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Project Polar Bear 2010

Learn about the project winners.

Project Background:

As one of Polar Bears International’s official Arctic Ambassador Centers, CREW is involved in PBI’s Project Polar Bear.

Student Project Highlights

There are 29 teams, from 15 states, participating in the 2010 fall Project Polar Bear contest. Seven of these teams are working with the Cincinnati Zoo’s CREW. These teams are:

The Care Bears team has created MyActions.org, a website that encourages individuals and organizations to enter energy usage behavior. The information entered is tracked and calculated to estimate CO2 savings.

You can track your actions on MyActions.org. Add a connection to Cincinnati Zoo, and help us achieve our group goal.

January 26, 2011   1 Comment

Polar Bear Watch

Polar bears enjoying the Cincinnati winter

The season from November through February typically is an ideal time for polar bears at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  The weather is cold and snow sometimes falls.  Bundled up zoo visitors eagerly approach the polar bear exhibit expecting to see bears actively playing in the icey cold water where they appear to be enjoying themselves immensely.  However, in November and December visitors may not see as many polar bears as they have come to expect.  During the fall and early winter seasons, the female bears are given access to dens during the day in case they are pregnant and want to begin exhibiting nesting behavior.  Therefore, if you don’t see a bear in the under water viewing area, don’t be disappointed.  It could be that the bear is in her den preparing to give birth.  CREW scientists analyze the hormones in fecal samples of polar bears and try to determine which bears at our nation’s zoos are possibly pregnant.  Although the tests are still not definitive because hormone values in pseudopregnant (false pregnant) and pregnant bears appear similar,the data can be used to determine which bears might be carrying cubs.  Fortunately, one of our bears falls into this category.  Due to climate change and the loss of arctic sea ice, polar bears are now threatened with extinction, so we need all the polar bear cubs we can produce.  Keep your fingers crossed that our bear is truly pregnant this year and not just pseudopregnant!

Bears enjoying a Valentine's Day treat

November 15, 2010   5 Comments

Preparing for Nikki’s baby

Beginning October 1, a team of Zoo Volunteer Observers (ZVO’s) will monitor Nikki on video screens in our CREW facility, as we get closer to her due date. The ZVO’s  will be on duty from the time keepers leave at night until they come back to work in the morning.  The video feed from the camera goes directly into a digital video recorder so the keepers and the CREW scientists can review the footage.

All eyes will be on  Nikki!

In addition, like all expectant parents, we have had to baby proof the rhino barn in preparation for Nikki’s calf.  Indian rhino calves weigh somewhere between 88 to 140 pounds at birth and can stand within 30 minutes of being born.  While generally wobbly at first, Nikki’s calf will soon be steady, on its feet, and busy exploring.  We can’t wait!

Just as human babies sleep in a crib to stay safe, we had to modify Nikki’s bedroom so it would be safe for her calf.  Our maintenance department made play-pen type bars to fit in between the already existing bars of Nikki’s stalls.  This way, the little calf can’t wander out and will stay safe and secure with mommy.

baby proof

Wendy Shaffstall, one of Nikki's keepers, checks the baby proofing.

A big shout out to our maintenance department for helping us get ready for Nikki’s baby!

Now, should we paint the rhino barn pink or blue?

September 29, 2010   7 Comments