My question is about the polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego dying. My friend is trying to argue that it died because polar bears don't belong in hot weather and it's the zoo's fault. She's very anti-zoo, while im a huge supporter of zoo's and dont really think that the climate killed them polar bear. Are polar bears able to adapt to warmer climate?
Polar bears adapt just as well to weather as any other bear - and it’s all in what they eat.
They withstand the cold due to a heavy blubber that insulates them, and they build it up by eating a diet made almost entirely of seal fat. (If you watch the Wild Alaska BBC miniseries, they show foraging bears only eating the fattiest parts of salmon when they’ve got enough available to be picky.)
Zoos are aware that their polar bears would be really uncomfortable in warmer climates with a heavy layer of blubber, so they’re fed more lean meat. They get the appropriate nutritional balance, but not the huge amount of extra calories from fat. Because the climate is milder, the bears also naturally adapt and don’t grow as thick of a coat as their counterparts in colder weather.
On top of that, every good facility housing polar bears chills their pools and gives them chilled dens, ice blocks, etc. They don’t always prefer it! At the San Diego zoo, famously, their pool was initially chilled to 40 degrees F and the bears didn’t go in because it was too cold and they weren’t adapted to it. When they raised the temperature, the bears became much more willing to swim.
So basically, if right accommodations are made, polar bears can thrive in almost any climate in a captive setting.
So far we have no idea why that polar bear died. If it’s not immediately visually obvious in a necropsy what killed an animal, tissue samples are sent out for testing and it regularly takes a couple weeks to get results back from a lab.
It’s a book from 1666, by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle. She was an aristocrat, philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright; the book is considered one of the earliest pieces of science fiction. I can’t say it’s the first because I’m pretty sure Johannes Kepler’s Somnium, which takes place on the Moon, takes precedence. Somnium was written in 1608 and published in 1634. But it’s up there.
The story starts with a merchant falling for a lady and kidnapping her to avoid the problem or her father’s objections. This does not go over well with God and Nature, and the boat full of kidnappers and the lady gets blown into the extreme northern ocean, where all the men on board die of the terrible bitter cold. The lady survives, and is rescued by creatures walking over the polar ice who are
in shape like Bears, only they went upright as men; those Creatures coming near the Boat, catched hold of it with their Paws, that served them instead of hands;
And then they realize that she’s not going to handle the cold of their island very well, so they take her
into another Island of a warmer temper; in which were men like Foxes, only walking in an upright shape, who received their neighbours the Bear-men with great civility and Courtship, very much admiring this beauteous Lady;
And shortly thereafter
they came into an Island where there were Men which had heads, beaks and feathers, like wild-Geese, onely they went in an upright shape, like the Bear-men and Fox-men: their rumps they carried between their legs, their wings were of the same length with their Bodies, and their tails of an indifferent size, trailing after them like a Ladie’s Garment;
And that is the moment at which I realized THEY HAD FURRIES IN 1666.