Home Animal Rights Blizzard’s festive birthday bash

Blizzard’s festive birthday bash

Blizzard’s festive birthday bash

The polar bear celebrates its 26th birthdayy Birthday with cake, tree, toy and lots and lots of icing

Polar bear Blizzard celebrated his birthday at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with all his favorite things: a cake, a tree, a big barrel and over 2,000 pounds of ice.

At 26, Blizzard is a big bear and every birthday is a special birthday. The average life expectancy of polar bears is around 23 years.

“We love to celebrate Blizzard,” said Malia Somerville, curator of marine mammals at the zoo. “We give Blizzard exceptional care and attention throughout the year, but on his birthday, we do our best,” she added.

Somerville even baked Blizzard’s birthday cake herself, with all his favorite flavors: carrot, peanut butter, yogurt, and berries.

Blizzard’s guardsmen watched happily as he ate his cake, licking the decorations first before taking big polar bear bites. He was eating much slower than you would think an animal his size would eat, savoring every bite.

Then Blizzard’s attention turned to the Douglas Fir Tree. No longer a cute giant eating a cake, he fell down the tree and ripped off its branches. Nearby, another birthday surprise: a large barrel rolls around.

He kept the best for the end: over a ton of ice. He was diving his nose first into the pile, rolling and sliding around.

“Blizzard is one of the strongest and most fearsome animals in our zoo,” Somerville said. “But he also has a playful side.”

Blizzard was rescued as an orphaned cub in Churchill, Canada before coming to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in 1997. He was separated from his mother in the arctic tundra and had no chance of surviving in the wild.

He was diagnosed with liver cancer in September and is receiving chemotherapy and other supportive care to slow the progression of the disease and keep him comfortable. The elderly bear is trained to be involved in his medical care, putting his paw through a specially made sleeve in his den so his care team can take the voluntary blood samples necessary to keep a close eye on his health.

The polar bear is classified as threatened under the United States’ Endangered Species Act, and the Species Survival Committee of the World Conservation Union has identified the species as being at high risk of global extinction. As global climate change reduces Arctic sea ice, polar bears are struggling to locate and hunt seals, making it difficult for them to survive.

Point Defiance Zoo has worked for years with the nonprofit Polar Bears International (PBI) to tell the story of polar bears in the wild, and the challenges they face, such as thawing sea ice. The Zoo is the center of the PBI Arctic Ambassador, and rangers and other staff have traveled to see bears in Churchill, Manitoba.

The Point Defiance Zoo encourages everyone to take action to help polar bears by reducing carbon emissions, reducing driving and deceleration, lowering the thermostat, and encouraging others to do the same. You can also donate to the Dr. Holly Reed to protect the zoo’s wildlife and support critical research on how polar bears are affected by sea ice loss due to climate opportunity.




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