UK's only polar bear celebrates birthday


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The Independent Online

The UK's only polar bear celebrated his third birthday today.

Enjoying the recent icy blast, the bear, named Walker, rolled around in the snow at his Highland home.

As well as showing off his new toys, the 58-stone animal munched through a massive ice birthday cake, stuffed with salmon, apples and carrots and topped with his favourite: sardines.

The young bear was also given a new workman's hard hat, one of his favourite playthings.

Highland Wildlife Park had to appeal for more of the hats in the summer as Walker made short work of chewing through the supply.

Keepers at the Highland Wildlife Park in Inverness-shire, where Walker lives, discovered the bear's penchant for the headgear when volunteers from the Royal Monmouthshire Regiment Territorial Army and the 73 Engineer Squadron Territorial Army visited the park to help with construction projects and he became "fixated" on one of the hard hats.

Walker was born in Rhenen Zoo in the Netherlands on December 7 2008.

He was a companion to Mercedes in the Highlands until she was put down in April. The well-loved bear had age-related health problems.