|Lee in the Louisville Zoo|
Polar Bears International created Arctic Sea Ice Day, observed on July 15 every year, to draw attention to this loss and how we can reverse the trend. I visited to Louisville Zoo on July 15, and was able to see both their polar bears, the wild orphan Qannik, and new father Lee. He is the father of 20 month old Kulu in the Columbus Zoo.
|Qannik poses for photos in her usual spot|
Since it was Arctic Ice Day, both polar bears were there to greet the public: Qannik was in the big pool area and Lee was in the glassed in room. The Louisville Zoo also has three Grizzly bears, who usually are in the rotation between the indoor areas and the two public areas, but today, it was all about the polar bears.
The keepers had made July 15 a day to learn about the importance of Arctic Sea Ice and how climate change is rapidly impacting the polar bears by shortening the sea ice season.
Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt for seals, who hide under the ice. Every year, the ice forms later in the fall, and melts earlier in the spring, meaning less time to hunt.
|Meanwhile in Columbus, Anana, cub Kulu (Lee's son) |
and Mother Aurora
|Lee was in the big glassed in space, with a pile of ice.|
|Lee finds the ice chips.|
|Yummy ice chips.|
|Stairways and ramps at Glacier Run help keep the bears' legs strong.|
According to the Louisville Keepers, Lee now weighs a little less than a thousand pounds. Qannik weighs 525 pounds. The bears ted to weigh a little less this time of year.
|Lee, a bear with two faces. His tail makes a curlicue,|
rather like a silly face with eyes too.
|Another pic of Lee's rear end.|
|Qannik sits at the window and poses with the kids. Since she was raised by humans, she has a real bond with her visitors.|
|Lee and his Arctic Sea Ice message.|
According to PBI:
The Arctic is warming three times as fast as the rest of the planet. Polar Bears rely on Sea Ice to hunt, breed, roam and sometimes den.
But it's not just about polar bears.
Sea ice serves as the earth’s air conditioner, helping to keep our planet cool. It’s also the basis of the Arctic marine food web and is used by Northern communities for transportation and access to food.