Sharp-eyed visitors to the Milwaukee County Zoo may have noticed that the former Polar Bear habitat has a new occupant: grizzly bear Bozeman.
Bozeman recently transitioned from the former Brown Bear habitat, where he resided with brown bear Boris. Prior to that, Bozeman was in the Grizzly Bear habitat. One of the advantages for Bozeman now in the former Polar Bear habitat is that he and Boris have “total access” to their spaces daily, rather than rotating as they had been previously.
Animal care staff share that Bozeman is doing well, showing no signs of stress, and acclimating for daily care and habitat cleaning. He’s enjoying his comfortable new hammock, which was installed by an Eagle Scout troop. Bozeman appears to be a bit unsure about the big, deep pool and has only used the shallow shelf so far to cool off and relax in the water. He also has a tire bed, which he hasn’t used just yet.
Bozeman did spend a lot of time smelling every inch of his new space at first. Bears have an extremely good sense of smell, and he can certainly recognize that other bears had been there before. The Zoo’s bears also share enrichment items, so he had a sense of a polar bear smell before, but not to this extent throughout his habitat.
Bozeman has been monitored regularly by familiar zookeepers, as well as Zoo Pride volunteers, and his routine in the new habitat has remained much the same. Adult bears are typically solitary, and he has been on his own for the past few years. Animal care staff will set-up all the bears for hibernation near Thanksgiving.
He will remain in this habitat for the foreseeable future. The number of polar bears currently living in human care is quite low, and zoos worldwide have more spaces for polar bears than there are animals to fill them. The habitat would also need upgrades before introducing a polar bear. So, for now, Bozeman is a welcome addition to this spacious habitat, and we hope visitors will think so too!