Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Willy, the Polar Bear

And yet on the other hand, here is an animal that is much better off being here at the NC Zoo.

Wilhelm, or as he is called now, Willy, was among six polar bears confiscated from a Mexico-based circus who abandoned them and their trainer in Puerto Rico in 2001. He spent most of his time in a seven by eight-foot cage. Rarely did he and the other bears have access to water to swim in. Their diet consisted mostly of apples, carrots, lettuce and bread.The temperatures soared to above 100 degrees and there was no air conditioning.

Willy and Masha (who died in 2007 from old age and complications from his life with the circus) came to North Carolina while other bears went to the Detroit Zoo and the Port Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. Since Willy is more than twenty years old, it is doubtful that the zoo will try to introduce another polar bear into his enclosure.

You can't see it in this picture, but he was swimming around with an orange traffic cone in his paw. What a change from how he looked when he was with the Suarez Circus. I won't link to those pictures; too gruesome. But they are findable if you want to Google it.


Anyes said...

A beautiful animal, my heart feels for his fellow companions in the wild and all their habitat melting away. Such a tragedy (sorry to be such a downer on this beautiful post)

frayedattheedge said...

Like you, I am in two minds about animals kept in zoos - but certainly in this case it is a good thing!!

Dan said...

Thanks for sharing this Karen.
We live close to Chester zoo, and I love to visit. I'm not in two minds about modern zoos, as they do such valuable conservation work. I do worry about zoos where the animals are purely on display.
Circuses with animals, as far as I'm concerned, should be consigned to the past.
Lovely to see the picture here. I Googled Suarez Circus, and I'm glad he's in the zoo instead with space to play, some cool water and his traffic cone!!

Dartford Warbler said...

It looks as though NC Zoo have done a great job in rehabilitating this beautiful bear.

Scrappy Grams said...

Cheers to those who care for wild animals whose habitat is disappearing.

Carolina said...

I'm glad Willy and the others were saved and that he has a much better life now. Hooray for zoos I guess ;-)

Karen said...

To All of You: Thank you so much for the comments on Willy the Polar Bear. Now that I'm getting over my cold, I'll be back to replying to each one of you individually!