Some of you have noticed our male polar bear, Kalluk, and his “dance” of frustration in the past few days. We only see this from him during breeding season, typically at the beginning of the season as hormone levels are building, and then just before breeding when Chinook is not submitting, and then after the breeding cycle is done and Chinook is again not submitting.
We have observed that male polar bears go into a breeding set hormonally before the females do, and it lasts longer as well. In the wild, a male would breed with a female and then go find another willing mate; thus, a good reason for their season to last longer. The frustrated walk has been observed in the wild with both polar bears and brown bears in some situations.
Luckily, it would appear that in honor of Valentine’s Day Chinook is ready to breed, and our boy is finally losing some of his frustration!
JoAnne Simerson is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Polar Bears White and Brown.