The Prague Zoo, home to iconic polar bears, plans to create a new exhibit typical for Arctic wildlife, according to its director, Miroslav Bobek. This ambitious project, named “The Arctic,” is set to accommodate seals and other Arctic animals and is expected to be situated in the upper part of the garden opposite the Dja Reserve.
The zoo has a longstanding tradition of breeding polar bears. In the 1940s, a polar bear was successfully bred in captivity, a significant achievement. In 1947, a female bear named Polárka was born, the first polar bear raised to adulthood in the Prague Zoo. “The polar bear is the most obvious global warming and climate change victim. That is also why we need to talk about them and show them. But if we want to keep them, we must build a completely new exhibit,” Bobek states.
The current exhibit, dating back to the 1930s, is too small and poorly situated, receiving too much sunlight. The new production will respect current standards, providing large pools and spacious animal enclosures. The Arctic will be gigantic, costing about four times more than the recently opened Dja Reserve.
The decision on whether the Prague City Council will fund the construction is imminent. If everything goes smoothly, the zoo will start looking for builders this year and set up a construction site in the winter, and the work will run for four years. If the city does not provide the necessary funding, the new exhibit will not be built, and the zoo will have to say goodbye to its polar bears.
The zoo also continues to innovate elsewhere in its grounds. In March, new enclosures for Przewalski’s horses will open, completing the first phase of the reconstruction of the Plains in the upper part of the grounds. The new sections will complement an exhibition on transporting Przewalski’s horses, which the zoo returned to western Mongolia.