The growth responses of two polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs to regimented dietary energy

The growth of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs depends to a large extent on litter size and the provision of maternal care, specifically, milk production and the sharing of prey (Derocher and Stirling, 1996, Robbins et al., 2012). Cubs in most subpopulations stay with their mothers for up to 2 ½ years and rely solely on maternal milk during the...

Polar bears: aspects of handrearing

Zoos faced with the issue of handrearing polar bear cubs have found success with various formulas. Despite many common ingredients in zoos’ polar bear milk replacers, adjustments were made to accommodate specific medical or nutritional needs of the cub(s), and consequently there were differences in solids/energy offered and weaning age. Cubs from three institutions (San Francisco, Brookfield, and San Diego...

Safety of feeding anadromous fish to polar bears

Fish are a standard part of polar bear diets in zoos and aquaria. Though most fish are frozen and thawed for feeding, some institutions have access to fresh fish such as salmon and trout. Recently, animal managers have encouraged the feeding of live fish for enrichment purposes. In 1982 two polar bears living in a Pacific Northwest zoo were thought...

Summary of polar bear nutrition guidelines

Polar bears, the most carnivorous of the Ursidae family, prey primarily on ringed seals. When brought into captivity, maintaining their nutritional and psychological health can be challenging. Due to the lack of in-depth species-specific research, dietary recommendations for polar bears are formulated considering known requirements of related domestic animals, the diets, and nutrients consumed by healthy captive bears. A balanced...