Making Life More Bearable

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Staff members at the San Francisco Zoo are helping the polar bears stay happy by allowing them catch fresh fish, dig for blueberries or play with frozen treats to stimulate their brains.

    In polar bear years, the trio of bears at the San Francisco Zoo are practically senior citizens. So, zoo officials are trying to make their sunset years a little better.

    Pike, Andy and Ulu are in their 20s and it is not uncommon to see them lethargic and unamused. Veterinarians say the boredom also puts the bears at risk for mental illness. Our friends at the Examiner tell us the inactivity caught the attention of animal control and veterinary experts recently, prompting changes in their daily routines.

    There's no money to spiff up their enclosure, which dates back to the 1930s, so to help make life a little more bearable (ok, couldn't resist), the zoo came up with more creative ways to help them pass time.

    Staff members are helping the trio stay happy by allowing them catch fresh fish, dig for blueberries or play with frozen treats to stimulate their brains. Advisors also suggested changing up the polar bears' point of view by rotating them throughout other exhibits at the zoo. The bears tell us they heard about plenty of action in the waters over at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to keep them active and full.

    Polar bears can live up to 40 years in captivity and 15 to 30 years in the wild.