(WILDLIFE/POLAR BEARS) SAN DIEGO — Just in time for Christmas, the San Diego Zoo‘s Polar Bear Plunge was transformed into a winter wonderland with nearly 26 tons of snow yesterday morning. The polar bear exhibit’s three inhabitants,Kalluk, Tatqiq, and Chinook, are showing their excitement by frolicking around and wrestling with each other. Watch them as they enjoy their very own white Christmas in the video below!

The snowy surprise was made possible by donors who contributed to the animal care wish list on the San Diego Zoo website, Sandiegozoo.org. — Global Animal

New York Times, Mike McPhate

For certain four-legged residents of San Diego, the year-round warmth is not the city’s best feature.

So when the San Diego Zoo used a snow blower last week to blanket its polar bear exhibit with nearly 26 tons of snow, the animals’ response was nothing short of total bliss. And they had a chance to enjoy, however briefly, a snowy December denied to the rest of the country.

The bears — Kalluk, Tatqiq and Chinook — who were all orphaned at young ages, slid on their stomachs and backs, plunged their heads into the cool powder and wrestled with each other all Friday morning, zoo officials said. The snow eventually melted away in San Diego’s mild weather, with temperatures in the mid- to low 60s.

Zoo staff members also buried yams, carrots, melons and beef femur bones in the snow to create a sort of treasure hunt for the animals.

“This was a special day for the polar bears, and I could tell they really loved it,” said Susan Purtell, a senior keeper. “It was great seeing them roll around in the snow, showcasing their natural behaviors.”

The gift was made possible with donations to the zoo’s Animal Care Wish List program.

Need more polar bear? Check out the zoo’s live stream of their enclosure.

More New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/science/earth/video-polar-bears-snow-san-diego.html

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