Jul 19

Welcome Home to SeaWorld San Diego, Szenja!

Our jet-setting polar bear, Szenja, has returned home from her six-month vacation at the Pittsburgh Zoo!

As you may recall, Szenja left SeaWorld San Diego in December to meet a male polar bear (Koda) residing at the Pittsburgh Zoo with the hopes of natural breeding. She travelled via FedEx roundtrip along with one of her trainers and a SeaWorld veterinarian. Not only did Szenja get to experience the wonderful Pittsburgh winter and spring seasons, but a few of our trainers did as well.

SeaWorld also sent six of Szenja’s polar bear keepers (approximately one keeper stayed in Pittsburgh for a month) to ensure she had a familiar face and similar routine as her home back here at the park. Once she arrived at SeaWorld, she was greeted by Snowflake, our other female polar bear and her den mate for the past 15-and-a-half years.

Is Szenja pregnant, you might ask?

Well, we are not sure as of yet, but we have high hopes that she is. Usually, polar bears have their cubs in the fall, so we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we are also working very closely with our reproductive lab to regularly evaluate Szenja’s hormone levels. Even if Szenja turns out not to be pregnant, we’ve been able to learn more about polar bear reproduction and breeding over the past several months.

Here are a few fun facts about polar bear reproduction that we do know:
*Polar bears exhibit delayed implantation to ensure that the cub is born during the best time of year, which is usually between November and January in a maternity den.
*A polar bear’s ovaries are only 5 cm.
*At birth, polar bear cubs weigh only about 16 to 24 oz and are approximately 12 inches long.
*Polar bear cubs are born defenseless and with their eyes shut. They generally stay with mom for the first two years of their life.

Feel free to cool off and stop by the Wild Arctic attraction to see Szenja and Snowflake this summer. And of course, I will keep you updated as to whether or not we hear the pitter-patter of little polar bear feet romping around SeaWorld San Diego in the future!