World-class home comes to life.
With robust partnerships in conservation and field biology, the future of polar bear care is coming to life at the Oregon Zoo, thanks to the zoo’s incredible care team and the generosity of donors. “Some aspects of bear biology are virtually impossible to study in the wild,” said curator Amy Cutting. “Scientists and wildlife managers need to understand how polar bears are responding as sea ice retreats. That’s where zoo bears come in.”
Decades of pioneering conservation science and expert daily care will make this habitat a home where zoo polar bears can thrive while providing rich data and insights to better understand these animals in the wild. Construction of Polar Passage was made possible by a community-supported zoo bond measure passed in 2008.
We can’t wait to see bears rolling in snowy flakes of ice and diving into saltwater pools, which will exercise muscles and nourish their fur and skin. Hilltops recreate the vistas sought out by wild polar bears, and an air-conditioned cave offers a cool place to relax.
As always, sustainability guides our actions and designs. A geothermal loop converts energy used to cool the polar bear habitat into heating for Elephant Lands, and filtration systems save energy and water. As guests soak in the majesty of these charismatic marine mammals, visionary artwork and informational displays offer meaningful insights on the links between polar bears, sea ice and us — and inspire actions we all can take to save this wonderful species.