Cochrane, Ont. polar bears walk on ice for the first time
The bears at the Cochrane, Ont. Polar Bear Habitat are experiencing a true Canadian winter as the only polar bears in captivity to have their own frozen lake.
The Polar Bear Habitat is the largest facility in the world for polar bears, which now features a 10 acre natural lake.
"[The bears] had access to it throughout the summer," said Dylan McCart, the conservation coordinator at the habitat.
"They were able to go in and swim and dive to the bottom of the lake. They really, really enjoyed it."
Now that it's winter, the bears named Henry and Ganuk, were let out onto the frozen lake for the first time last week.
"It's the first facility in the world that's able to provide a significant amount of ice to the bears, which is very similar to their natural habitat," McCart said.
"You'll see natural behaviours that you just wouldn't be able to see in captivity, such as jumping on the ice, scratching at the ice, interacting with it. So it's really interesting to watch."
McCart said despite weighing hundreds of pounds, neither bear has broken through the ice.
With files from Radio-Canada's Jean Loup Doudard