Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tundra - still young at age 25

Tundra, the 25 year old lady polar bear at the Indianapolis Zoo, may be alone, but she is not lonely. This gorgeous bear looks a lot younger than her years, and is popular with the photographers in the crowds who gather around her lovely home.

Tundra and her pretty smile

Her fur is thick and fluffy, and she certainly doesn't look like a senior citizen. She is also quite playful and active, much to the delight of all her visitors. She likes to sit on the rock ledge in the water, put her mouth just under the surface of the water, and blow bubbles.
Tundra likes to blow bubbles

Tundra was born at the San Diego Zoo on November 15, 1986, the daughter of longtime San Diego Zoo residents, the very popular couple Bonnie and Caspar. I can't find any record of Bonnie having more cubs after Tundra, even though Bonnie lived until 2001. Caspar died in 1996. In fact the San Diego Zoo hasn't had a cub born since the late 80s.

Tundra came to the Indianapolis Zoo on May 9, 1988, at the age of 17 months.
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Tundra charms her young visitors with a shake

Tundra makes some faces

I don't know about Tundra's companions at the zoo during those early years, but there were two bears with her in recent years.

Young Triton, son of Norton and Trixie, was born at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence RI, and came from the Detroit Zoo in 2004, but sadly died of a twisted colon on April 11, 2008 at the age of 11. Incidentally, Triton was the father of Talini, born in 2005 in the Detroit Zoo. Talini's mother is Barle, who was rescued from a Mexican circus.

Tahtsa, a petite little old lady polar bear, came to the Indianapolis Zoo in October of 2006. Tahtsa was born in the Denver Zoo November 20, 1974, but spent most of her life in the Louisville Zoo. When Tahtsa died on August 12, 2009, she was said to be the oldest polar bear in captivity or in the wild, just a few months short of her 35th birthday. The two lady bears were always kept separate, however, and were never out at the same time.
Tundra strolls by the waterfall in her home

The underwater viewing area is on the right.

Tundra has the whole place to herself these days

The habitat has a lovely waterfall, and a nice swimming area with an underwater viewing window so everyone can enjoy watching Tundra swim and dive and blow bubbles.
Tundra entertains

So Tundra is now the only polar bear in Indianapolis, but she seems happy enough, and she looks fabulous.

Friendly Tundra

Beautiful Tundra

Happy Tundra!


  1. Thank your for sharing! Tundra and I are just about the same age so I've always loved celebrating her birthday come November. She does look great for her age, or for any age! She's a beautiful girl.

  2. wow! beautiful photos of our lovely girl- thank you for posting!

  3. What a funny,fluffy face at a polar bear,so pretty !! Loves life and the habitat-so happy !!


  4. Dear Molly,
    Tundra is a really beautiful bear with such a cute face. Nobody would guess her age.
    I am glad to read that Tundra is happy although she is the only bear in Indianapolis. It seems to be fact that the older bears really enjoy to be on their own.

    All the best to Tundra, wishing her many happy years.

    Thank you so much for introducing this polar bear beauty. this is very much appreciated.

    Hugs from caren

  5. I have the pleasure of being a Marine Mammal volunteer at the zoo & I have so much love for Tundra, as I did Tahtsa. Thanks for your sweet pictures & narration!