No way of knowing exactly who it is, stretched out on the rock....- Das gleiche gilt für diesen Bär, der letzten Monat so faul herumlag, als gerade ein Freund aus unserem Aussenposten Rodrigues den Zoo in Johannesburg besuchte...-
The same goes for this bear who just lay around lazily while a friend of Knut's outpost Rodrigues visited the zoo in Johannesburg...
Doch eins ist sicher, diese beiden sind Afrikas einzige beiden Eisbären...-
Though , one thing is sure, these are the only two polar bears still living in captivity in Africa.
Es können also nur Geebee oder Wang sein... Eisbärin Geebee kam 1986 wie ihr männlicher Counterpart Wang im Alter von 6 (!) Monaten nach Johannesburg. Geebee, ein Wildfang aus Kanada, und Wang aus Sapporo (Mutter Shiro und Vater Pole) wurden damals gegen Löwen eingetauscht...-
So, it's either Geebee or Wang...Female Geebee came as her male counterpart 1986 at age 6 (!) months to Johannesburg. Geebee from Canada's wild and Wang from Sapporo in Japan (mother Shiro and father Pole) were swapped for lions.So, what is different for polar bears in Africa?
"The only polar bears in Africa have so adapted to the climate that they don't go into their cold rooms anymore. (...)
Their lack of interest in the cold room in their enclosure is not the only difference from polar bears in the wild. Geebee and Wang have also lost the hair under the pads of their feet, which in the wild is necessary to protect them against ice and snow.
A change of diet may have something to do with it. They are fed chicken and rabbit, as opposed to the seal meat that they would normally eat under Arctic conditions, says Dominic Moss, a nature conservationist and keeper at the Johannesburg Zoo.
He says, "Seals have a layer of blubber that helps the bears to build up a thick layer of fat to insulate them against the extreme cold of the Arctic."
Geebee is the female and Wang is male. However, "we do not expect our bears to breed because it doesn't get cold enough to stimulate their breeding cycle. They breed in their winters, which can get as cold as -40 degrees," he says.
When the bears first arrived, according to Moss, they used the refrigerator room that was especially built for them, but after a couple of years they adapted to the heat, and they just never used the room again.
However, when snow was poured into their enclosure during a children's snow week-end a couple of months ago, the bears looked home-sick, revelling in it.
These animals are known for their swimming skills, and the Zoo has made efforts to make them feel at home by building a swimming pond for them. (...) ."
(Find full article here/18.09.2002)
"Johannesburg Zoo is almost as old as the city of Johannesburg itself. The city was founded in the late 1880s and the zoo opened its gates for the first time in 1904. (...) The enclosures within the zoo are home to more than 3,000 species of animal, including polar bears, which are an unusual sight in the middle of Africa. They are provided with an excellent environment with a large pool, and seem to be quite happy even in the absence of snow and ice. The zoo also houses some of the species you would expect to see on this continent – such as the plentiful lions and tigers."
It would have been interesting to get to know more about the history how polar bears had come to South Africa in the first place...
From article (1), Mr. Fatehmamode from Rodrigues(2,3,4), Jeanette Verster, found on Internet (5,6)
Related article with another photo from 2005 here