|Hope in front, and her mother Flocke, behind|
|Hope at 5 months old|
|Flocke and Hope swimming|
Hope, the three year old daughter of Flocke and Rasputin, had stayed with her mother past her third birthday. Usually, mother bears become impatient with their young ones at the age of 2 or 2 1/2 and sometimes even younger, but Flocke has been very patient with Hope, treasuring the time with her.
|Hope nuzzles her mother|
|Hope and Flocke in the mother-cub area playing follow the leader|
|Raspi, Raspoutine, Rasputin|
Flocke and Hope shared living space for three years, rotating between the upper and lower enclosure at Marineland, while father Rasputin lived in his own in a separate but nearby enclosure.
|Hope swimming and playing as her fans watch|
|Hope on the left, Raspi on the right. |
There are communication holes in the walls between the pools.
Raspi could see, hear and smell his daughter through holes between the upper enclosures, and they always were very interested in each other. When Hope was in the lower enclosure, he could hike down into a trench to see her through the separating grid upon occasion.
|Raspi on the other side of the grid visits with his daughter Hope|
|Hope rolling in the snow in the ice cave|
Since Marineland has three enclosures, there was always the option of putting Hope into her own space if Flocke indicated she was tired of mothering. Instead, the separation will be much further, as Hope has moved this week to Orsa Bear Park in Sweden, where she will have acres of snow, lots of trees and ponds, and the Northern Lights, in a very natural setting for polar bears, even though polar bears are not native to Sweden.
|Hope has always enjoyed lots of toys. |
She probably won't have them in the natural bear park.
Instead, she will have lots of space and natural activities.
|Hope and a favorite blue ball at Marineland|
|Another ball for Hope|
I have not been to Orsa, but the photos and maps are impressive, and those who have seen it say that it is the perfect place for a polar bear. Orsa Grönnklitt is large and natural and the animals live in forested areas with varied terrain. It is Europe's largest predator park.
There she will join two older bears: 10 year old Wilbär, who was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and 12 year old Ewa, one of Huggies' triplets from the Netherlands.
|Hope and her crazy egg|
|Hope and her water toys|
|Hope and her mother Flocke|