Walker the Polar Bear Settles in to his new Highland Home!

November 10, 2010 § Leave a comment


  It has been a very exciting time at Highland Wildlife Park this week! Walker the polar bear has arrived and is now settling in and getting to know his new home.

  Walker travelled from Rhenen Zoo last week, arriving at the park on Thursday night after 24 hours of travelling.  He was let into his indoor den area on arrival and on Friday morning he took his first steps into the holding pen of his new enclosure.  An extension has been built onto the current polar bear enclosure allowing the two bears to be kept separate as we wait to see how they get along. 

Douglas Richardson, Animal Collection Manager at Highland Wildlife Park said,

“The transfer yesterday [Thursday 4th November] went very smoothly. Our colleagues at Rhenen Zoo managed to get Walker into his travelling crate without incident, which helped make the journey for him less stressful. His crate was lifted onto a lorry and he travelled by road and then by ferry to Hull and up the A9 which took around 24 hours. When he arrived here last night [Thursday 4th November], he walked out of his crate and immediately began investigating his indoor den, so we are looking forward to seeing how he and Mercedes react to one another once he is released into the holding pen.”

Walker before he was allowed out into the holding pen. Photo Credit: Aaron Sneddon

  Walker definitely seemed to enjoy exploring his new enclosure after being released into the holding pen on Friday morning; within 20 minutes of being let out he was covered from head to toe in mud as he thoroughly investigated his new surroundings! 

Walker playing in a muddy puddle. Photo Credit: Aaron Sneddon

After exploring is new enclosure. Photo Credit: Aaron Sneddon

His latest adventure was into the main, four acre enclosure yesterday [Tuesday 9th November] (the new extension allows the bears’ access to the different areas of the enclosure to be rotated; enabling keepers to manage them separately while they get to know each other).  He was once again keen to explore what his new home has to offer and it wasn’t long before he was taking full advantage of the swimming pool!

Walker tests the water in his new enclosure. Photo Credit: Aaron Sneddon

  Walker has also met resident female Mercedes through the barriers that separate the different areas of their enclosure, Douglas Richardson explains how they are getting on,

‘‘Mercedes is very aware of anything new that happens in or around her enclosure, so she has already shown an interest in Walker. She came down to the holding pen to meet him on his first day and now occasionally makes the trip down the hill from her sleeping spot to see what he is getting up to – and to make sure he is behaving himself!

‘Walker was very wary of Mercedes at first but you can see him growing in confidence as he gets used to his new surroundings, so we hope to give the pair a proper introduction soon.’’

Mercedes (left) meets Walker (right). Photo Credit: Aaron Sneddon

It is hoped that the two bears will get along well as they have both lived with other polar bears in the past. Walker has been with his mother up until now but had to leave before she gave birth to her next litter and Mercedes used to share her enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo with male polar bear Barney who passed away 13 years ago.

We will keep you up to date on Walker and Mercedes progress so make sure you keep checking back with the RZSS blog to see how they get along!

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