Polar bears' 'bromance' blossoming at Scottish animal park

 

Christine Lavelle
Sunday 06 May 2012 08:51
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Arktos and Walker, meeting for the first time in their enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park
Arktos and Walker, meeting for the first time in their enclosure at the Highland Wildlife Park

Polar bears Walker and Arktos have been spotted sleeping "nose to nose" since they officially moved in together at a wildlife park.

The bears were introduced to each other last month when Arktos, four, arrived at Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore in the Highlands.

He was brought over from Hanover Zoo, Germany, in the hope he would become a new playmate for three-year-old Walker.

Following a brief settling-in period, the bears were gradually introduced and given time to adjust to each other's scents.

However, Arktos was said to have been "pining" for his friend and has now joined Walker in his five-acre enclosure full-time.

Keepers at the park said the pair, who are the only polar bears on public display in the UK, have since become "best buddies", describing their relationship as a "bear bromance".

They are often seen wrestling, swimming, sleeping and eating together.

Una Richardson, head keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said: "We managed Arktos and Walker's introduction gradually so that the polar bears did not feel overwhelmed by each other's presence, and to start with we separated both bears at night.

"We had really only started to introduce them for longer periods of time during the day when we spotted Arktos was missing Walker at night, whining and trying to get into the main enclosure to be with him.

"A great indicator for us that the bears were ready to take the next step, we let them move in together permanently into the main enclosure. Both have been together ever since.

"The two bears really dictated the pace for us, which is how it should be. It is great that they get on so well and they clearly enjoy having each other for company.

"Quickly becoming inseparable, they love nothing more than having a good wrestle, giving chase and also stealing each other's meat at feeding time.

"The boys tend to sleep quite close together in their enclosure at night, usually nose to nose or paw to paw.

"I don't think any of us knew that they would get on quite so well in such a short space of time - it is safe to say that they are definitely in the early stages of a budding bear 'bromance'."

PA

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