Australian polar bear 'toddler' to make new home in Ontario's north
'We're over the moon about Henry coming. He's just what our facility needs,' says Cochrane facility manager
The Polar Bear Habitat in Cochrane, Ont. is getting ready to welcome Henry, the second polar bear to be born at Australia's Seaworld.
He will make the move to Canada on Oct. 7.
Seaworld marine sciences director Trevor Long said the young bear would be returning to his roots.
"Henry's father Nelson was an orphaned polar bear from Canada and we think it is very, very important that Nelson's genetics can actually flow back into that Canadian stud book and Henry can make a contribution to the captive breeding of polar bears," he said.
"Henry is unlikely to come into a breeding situation until he's about nine years old, but his genetic contribution is extremely important."
At about 700 lbs, the "big, goofy and affable toddler" will join current sub-adult male resident Ganuk, said Polar Bear Habitat manager Karen Cummings.
Ganuk is 5.5 years old and slightly more than 900 lbs.
"We're over the moon about Henry coming. He's just what our facility needs – a new playful, trouble maker," Cummings said.
Henry will arrive about the time construction will be finishing on an expanded enclosure that will include a natural lake.
"We are under construction right now ... but when it's finished, our bears will have the most space of any facility in the world dedicated to polar bears," Cummings told CBC Sudbury's Up North radio program.
Henry will be held in quarantine for 30 days, where he will be cared for in his own room and enclosure while caretakers monitor his health and he becomes familiar with the facility.
Sea World Australia will pick up the costs involved with transporting Henry to the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat.
There are about 300 polar bears in human care — in roughly 100 facilities around the world.
With files from Seven Network Australia