Mar 18

Szenja, the Jet-Setting Polar Bear is Adapting Well to Her New Digs

SeaWorld San Diego has a world of experience when it comes to animal transports. We have the “transport guru” Keith Yip who facilitates and organizes all SeaWorld transports as well as years of experience among the support staff to accomplish the transport plan he creates. But after talking to Keith about Szenja’s transport to the Pittsburgh Zoo, he couldn’t stress enough that her transport was very unique.

As usual, every single detail is always taken into consideration when transporting animals to ensure that the animal first and foremost is comfortable. The night that we transported Szenja, we had heard that it was supposed to rain. (Rain in San Diego? What’s that?) This additional element added another step to the transport plan… we had to guarantee that her bedding, a combination of straw and wood shavings, stayed dry for her flight across the nation.

Sure enough, the minute before she left her protected den, it started to pour. The solution was easy; however, we had to work fast. We had several people in place to ensure Szenja and her transport unit did not get wet. We were able to safely secure a tarp over her transport unit and it was successful at keeping the rain out and Szenja dry.

Next, we drove her to the San Diego airport and loaded her on the plane. Then she was off, with Pittsburgh as her next stop. Szenja received the best in-flight service in town as one of her trainers took on the role as flight attendant to her while they were traveling; his sole responsibility was to ensure she was comfortable.

As mentioned in the previous blog, Szenja has made friends at the Pittsburgh Zoo with both their male (Koda) and female (Kobe) bears. Szenja has one of her trainers from SeaWorld San Diego with her the entire time she is in Pittsburgh. This means that both Szenja and my fellow team members will be spending cold winter months together!

One of my favorite videos that a team member shared with me was when Szenja was dusting her “snow shoes” off in her new exhibit. It was snowing in Pittsburgh during one of the first opportunities for Szenja to explore the outside portion of her new habitat, and as she walked around, her big paws slid around across the snow; quickly, she got her footing and then darted across her new exhibit to explore her new environment.

Szenja packed a pretty heavy carry-on for her visit to Pittsburgh.This included some of her favorite EEDs (Environmental Enrichment Device), one of which is a red gas can shown in the video. This item is also a huge hit with her new boyfriend, Koda …. Watch as he does a cannon ball into the water to retrieve it for her!

Szenja has adapted very well to her new home in Pittsburgh, as well as with her new polar bear friends. She will be returning home to San Diego just in time for summer, so keep checking in as I continue to update you on Szenja’s time in Pittsburgh along with her journey back. Hopefully, she will be a couple of pounds heavier, if you catch my drift!