Gratitude Report 2021 – 2022

polar passage nears donation goal
A cause for a celebration.
Author's Note: This content is 2 years old and may not be up-to-date.
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.

Did you know? A group of polar bears is called a celebration.

The Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Zoo Foundation are committed to a future that includes polar bears in the Arctic.

The significance and urgency of the zoo’s advocacy for polar bears has never been greater, and foundation donors have supported these efforts generously.

The pack impact.

$1.9 million supports important features including:

– A cooling cave and a nose-to-nose viewing area for guests
– A “smell port” where bears can get within sniffing distance of visitors (and their snacks!)
– Educational displays to connect guests to zoo bears and their counterparts in the wild
– Demonstration areas that let guests see animal-care staff training bears to participate in their own care
– Guest seating with awe-inspiring views of polar bears as they dive and swim

To learn how your donations are making an impact, email or call 503-505-5494.