The main emphasize behind the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo is the Polar Bears, with other northern animals also included in surrounding exhibits. I was under the impression when the work first began that Polar Bears would be brought here for with the intent of returning them to the wild once they were healthy and able to survive in the wild.
At this time, there are several young bears that are housed together in a very large area and there is no mention of ever putting them back in the wild. They are all used to being close to people and I don’t know if it is even possible to return them to the wild now.
The first bear to move here was born in the Toronto Zoo, so it is unlikely he would ever be sent to the wild. He is very sociable and loves attention from people. After Hudson came more young bears taken from the wild that were found without their mothers. I don’t even know for sure how many bears they have now and none, except for Hudson are mentioned in the zoo’s write-up on the exhibit. I do know that 2 new youngsters are kept away from the rest as they are new arrivals and under quarantine.
Hudson is the oldest of the Polar Bears with a birth date of October 11, 2011 – so at this time, they are all young and can be kept together. When I was there during the summer, the females were in a different area than the males, but since I saw 4 in the same area the other day, I am assuming that they all have access to the entire area now. I could be wrong about that though.
My only complaint about the viewing area is that the large glass panels are frosted over, making it very difficult to see (or take pictures of) the bears in the Churchill viewing area. I do have some pictures that did not turn out too bad though.