With the completion of extensive renovations to the Zoo’s original bear enclosures, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) is capable of housing and transitioning orphaned polar bear cubs and at risk polar bears found in northern Manitoba.
Polar bears can only be brought from the wild into our Zoo under very special circumstances. If an orphaned polar bear cub, which would normally die without its mother, is found , it may be a candidate to be rescued and put in the IPBCC transition program. This determination is made by Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, the branch of government responsible for the protection of wildlife resources in our province.
If the bear is deemed to be a candidate for the transition program, Zoo staff work with Conservation and Water Stewardship to safely transport it to the IPBCC. All new animals coming to the zoo undergo a 30 day quarantine period. At the IPBCC the bear is cared for and transitioned to life in a captive environment. Polar bears may eventually be moved to other accredited facilities to act as ambassadors for Churchill, Manitoba, and the species. In this role they are meant to connect people to northern ecosystems and to cause them to make changes in their lifestyle to conserve these regions.
Polar Bear transition to the IPBCC is carried out under the direction of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship in compliance with provincial legislation:
To protect polar bears that are moved out of the IPBCC, Manitoba retains ownership of all bears and their offspring. The IPBCC Advisory Board is responsible for making recommendations to the Minister regarding polar bear transfers to other facilities.
In September 2011, the Assiniboine Park Zoo and San Diego Zoo Global announced a new joint effort in the international cause of polar bear conservation. This collaboration will see the two organizations working to educate the public on issues related to the conservation of polar bears through interpretive programming at the IPBCC.
San Diego Zoo Global will support education and research efforts taking place within the IPBCC as well as ongoing research initiatives related to polar bears in cooperation with like-minded organizations. An important part of this collaborative effort is the ongoing work of the San Diego organization to share its knowledge and expertise as part of the program’s development.
Staff exchanges, information sharing and joint research projects are just a few components of the collaboration that will mutually benefit both the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the San Diego Zoo.