Saturday, February 22, 2020
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
at McDonnell Polar Bear Point 

Our 6-year-old, 1,350 pound polar bear Kali will be celebrating International Polar Bear Day at the Saint Louis Zoo on Saturday, February 22. The official International Polar Bear Day is February 27. 

Fun

  • Learn about polar bear's adaptations and test your strength against a polar bear’s!
  • Learn ways you can help polar bears and the entire Arctic and make a pledge to share what you will do to help.

  •  Say #byetobags and make big steps towards reducing single-use plastics.

Keeper Chats, Polar Bear Enrichment
10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Meet Kali's keepers and watch as he interacts with interesting enrichment activities.

Zoo staff will answer questions about the state of polar bears in the wild and offer ways we all can help. 

The Crisis of Melting Sea Ice

Polar bears are facing a relatively new and very serious threat to their survival — the loss of their sea ice habitat. Sea ice is essential to the bears to hunt seals on ice floes or near breath holes since they are not fast enough swimmers to catch seals in open water. They stalk and ambush their prey on that sea ice. Over the last 30 years, scientists have documented a dramatic reduction in Arctic sea ice. Recent modeling of future sea ice trends predicts dramatic reductions in sea ice coverage over the next 50 to 100 years and the potential loss of all polar bears near the end of this century.

In Canada's Hudson Bay, for example, the sea ice season has been shortened by several weeks, limiting the time that polar bears can prey on seals. Every day a polar bear goes without seals to eat, that bear loses approximately two pounds of blubber. The pounds really add up when weeks of hunting are eliminated. Scientists are finding thinner bears, lower female reproductive rates, smaller litters and higher death rates among young polar bears in that region.

Changing Climate

Because of climate change, the amount of sea ice from year to year is dramatically declining. When fossil fuels like coal and gas are burned, rampant carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, creating a heat-trapping blanket effect. The blanket is getting thicker and heat cannot get out, which is causing the earth and oceans to warm and the ice to melt. Experts say if the rising ocean temperature trend continues, Arctic sea ice will continue to melt, threatening the very habitat that polar bears and many other species depend upon for survival.

Polar bears need our help, and they need it now.

Scientific consensus holds that climate change is interrupting natural cycles, causing habitat loss and prompting more extreme weather patterns. All this affects animals. As a conservation organization, the Saint Louis Zoo has a responsibility to constructively engage in climate change solutions.

There's Good News — You Can Help!

It is not too late to help polar bears. In fact, it is actually quite easy! The best way we can help Arctic species and other animals around the world is by reducing our current carbon footprint. From zebras in Kenya to orangutans in Borneo to frogs in Brazil, we can all help to save species. Visit polarbearsinternational.org to see what actions you can take every day to help save polar bears!

For useful tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint, please visit the Zoo's "do it yourself conservation" page.

The Zoo is a member of Polar Bears International’s Arctic Ambassador Center network, which includes more than 50 leading zoos, museums, science centers and aquariums. These centers educate the public about polar bears and climate change and play a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their communities.