Tough times for polar bears
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A polar bear named Koda comes out of his hole at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He swings his head from side to side. Then he walks out to the edge of a rock. He keeps swinging his head. Then he backs up into his hole. He comes back out again. He does this over and over.
The people watching Koda might think he is being funny. But he is just like most polar bears in zoos. They do things over and over again.
Scientists don't think it is funny. They say it means the polar bears are not happy.
In Wide-Open Places
Polar bears are used to having much more space. They live in wide-open places with lots of snow and ice. They usually walk around for miles and miles. In the zoo, they can only go back and forth.
Many people say this isn't fair. They don't want polar bears to be kept in zoos at all. They say that people just looking at the polar bears can bother the animals.
Polar bears in the Arctic have a problem. Their home is melting away. Scientists think the ice is melting because Earth's temperatures are getting warmer.
Scientists say people can help. They want people to take better care of the Earth. If people don't, more ice might melt. Then the polar bears will have nowhere to go.
That is why some people want to keep polar bears in zoos. They want more people to see the bears, and want to help the bears in the Arctic.
At The Zoo
The Pittsburgh Zoo wants to teach people about polar bears. The zoo also wants to tell people about the melting ice.
The zoo built a new park called Water's Edge. The park has two parts. One part is closed to people. The other part lets people see the bears. Now, the polar bears can take breaks away from people when they feel like it.
Koda is also given special things to try. Sometimes he smashes barrels. At other times, he has to get frozen fish out of other barrels.
Zoos teach people about polar bears. The zoos hope that people will want to help the bears.