On Friday, Mom went to the zoo, and she did not take us dogs because dogs are not allowed at the zoo, except for African Wild Dogs, who already live there. But they have to stay in a fenced area all the time, and they were sleeping when Mom was there Friday, which Mom thought was disappointing because she likes to watch them.
But anyway, Mom mostly wanted to see the new POLAR BEAR, whose name is Nikita. He came from Ohio, where he was born in the Toledo Zoo on November 21, 2006. Nikita weighs 750 pounds and he eats 25 pounds of food every day. This would be like eating a whole basenji every day, so I am happy that I am not allowed to go to the zoo. I feel safer just staying home and looking at the photos Mom took.
I was going to tell you a whole bunch of stuff about polar bears, and I even did some in-depth research, but now I think I will mostly just show you photos of Nikita today and tell you more about polar bears tomorrow. And one reason I'm doing it this way is because Mom really likes the pictures she took of Nikita, so she said I had to use them or else she wouldn't give me any supper. So I said, "No problem!"
Well, first I will tell you that Nikita just arrived at the Kansas City Zoo this summer, but the zoo had already spent lots of time and money building a place for him to live. So now he has 10,000 square feet of space to roam around in and a big pool to swim in that holds 140,000 gallons of water. The water is only 65 degrees, which is pretty cold, if you ask me, but polar bears like to live way up north where it is cold weather all the time. And they also like to swim a whole bunch. I am glad I don't have to live where the polar bears do because I would probably freeze to death in about five minutes!
Mom was afraid that when she went to see Nikita, he would just be sleeping, but he wasn't! Instead, he was busy diving into his pool and swimming over to the window where the people were watching, and then he did sort of a turn over onto his back like those Olympic swimmers do when they get to the end of the pool. And then he swam back, climbed out, dived in again, and swam back over to the people, did the turn, swam back, climbed out, and so forth.
Mom thought Nikita must be having lots of fun and that maybe it wasn't so bad that he didn't get to live in the Arctic like his wild cousins. But later on she wondered if his diving in and out of the pool was the polar bear version of pacing, like the tigers do in their pens. I don't know anything about how polar bears think or feel, so I don't know if Nikita was feeling happy or not.
But anyway, then he started playing with a yellow ball, and Mom said he seemed to like doing that. He took the ball out on his fake ice floe, and he chewed on it, just like dogs chew on balls.
And after that, he went swimming with his ball.
The people watching Nikita seemed very happy that their tax money had paid for this nice exhibit. Most of the children liked watching the polar bear, but a few of them were scared when he came swimming at them. I think I might have been scared, too!
So after Mom watched Nikita for a while, she went to see the African animals at the zoo, and just before she was going to leave, she went back to find out what Nikita was up to. And she was shocked to see that he had been wallowing in the dirt, so he had turned into a brown bear instead of a white one!
The people watching him were kind of disappointed because they wanted him to get back in the water and swim some more and change back to being white, but he didn't seem like he wanted to do that right away, so Mom came home to us dogs.