• Elsie Hernandez

Ida and Gus

Before I had Skylar, I've always spent hours of my time visiting Ida and Gus the polar bears that lived in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. I literally just went to watch those bears. I was always fascinated by their swimming skills and their love for one another. However, when Sky was born most of my time was focused on being a mommy and when the day finally came to visit I remember how excited I felt to introduce her to these beauties.

Skylar at the time was a little over 2 years old. We lived in New Jersey at the time, so I had to lug her carriage along with Sky on the bus ride to Grand Central and then the train to Central Park. Sky wasn't as excited as I was to see these huge white bears the first time, you know kids and their attention span, but I was so happy that she experienced watching them swim with me. She gravitated to the penguins, who were also fun to watch. We went back a few times after and spent a while without visiting, when we went back we were told the polar bears died. I was devastated, I haven't visited the zoo since.

According to Central the polar bears died in the year 2013 and it came to such a sad surprise to me, because I really loved them. I don't know just knowing that they were being taken care of in this Zoo. You know Polar bears are possibly going to become extinct because of our global warming issues.

You can read part of the bio about "Gus and Ida" taken from the website.

Zoo collection includes: Gus born in late 1985 at a facility in Buffalo, New York, was at the Central Park Zoo since it opened in August of 1988. He was euthanized (2013) at age 27 due to an inoperable thyroid tumor. Ida, the female bear, was euthanized (2011) at age 25 due to liver cancer. They are both greatly missed. Found in the wild: Along the coasts and inland streams and lakes of Alaska and Canada, Greenland, Norway and Siberia. The Greek word Arktos, meaning “bear”, is the origin of the Arctic name. Antarctica means “no bears”, so do not believe those commercials that feature a polar bear and a penguin together. It just isn’t true, they live on opposite ends of the earth. Description: The males weigh 660 to 1,760 pounds and females—330 to 700 pounds. Our male, Gus, weighs about 1000 pounds and Ida, the female, weighs in at 650. A polar bear’s body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, just like us. They have a dense, thick undercoat of fur and are protected by an outer coat of long guard hairs that stick together when wet, forming a waterproof barrier to keep them dry. Even though polar bears look white, their hair is really made of clear, hollow tubes filled with air. Polar bears have black skin. A layer of 2 to 4 inches of blubber helps insulate polar bears from the freezing air and cold water, and acts as a nutritional reserve when food can’t be found. This blubber also helps the bears float in the water.

I hear now residing at the zoo are two grizzly bears called Veronica and Betty and there's a polar bear named Tundra in the Bronx Zoo.

More to come!

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