Our Bears

Ganuk

Age: 11

 

Date of birth: November 30, 2009

 

Place of birth: Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Félicien, Quebec

 

Arrival at the Habitat: June 2012

 

Name: Ganuk is an Inuktitut word that means snowflake, and he is certainly one-of-a-kind

 

Ganuk, the eldest son of Inukshuk, was born at Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Félicien with his twin sister Taiga in 2009. Ganuk arrived at the Habitat in 2012 after having been separated from his mother and sister in 2011.

 

In 2016, Ganuk and Henry were introduced, and their relationship has developed well since. Ganuk's docile and patient demeanour is a perfect accompaniment to Henry's ever-active personality. The time he spends with Henry encourages him to be more active – something he isn’t always motivated to do on his own.

 

As Ganuk is the longest resident at the Habitat, he is also the most familiar with the procedures involved in his care, and he has been known to use his knowledge to his advantage. 

 

Ganuk responds well to voluntary training and is often the first of the bears to learn a new behaviour or participate in a new aspect of medical care. He was the first to voluntarily give blood, the first to participate in ultrasound exams, and remains the only bear to roll over in the training crate.

 

Ganuk may be the largest bear but he is by far the most particular when it comes to his diet. He happily eats seal meat and moose meat, but he avoids highly nutritious seal blubber and the less meaty parts of the fish. Animal care staff discovered the perfect way to ensure he eats a proper diet - all of the fish heads, tails and seal oil are ground together into a mash and then fed to him using a spoon. A method which he and the animal care staff love!

 

Ganuk tends to lumber along at his own pace, and he avoids being outside when it’s raining.

While his weight fluctuates seasonally, Ganuk is usually our heaviest bear at between 1,000 and 1,100lbs (450 to 500kg). He is affectionally - and aptly - known as our gentle giant. 

Ganuk-800x600_edited.jpg
GanukBarrel-550x413_edited.jpg

Henry

Age: 8

Date of birth: May 9, 2013

 

Place of birth: Sea World Gold Coast, Australia

 

Arrival at the Habitat: October 2015

 

Name: Henry was named after sea explorer Henry Hudson, who was the first European to see the Hudson Bay.

 
Lake_19.jpg

At the time of his birth, Henry was the first polar bear born in Australia in 30 years. 

He stayed with his mother until he was two, at which point she started showing signs of wanting to separate from him, as would happen in the wild.

Henry moved from his birthplace in October of 2015, but he still has a dedicated Aussie following. After a long, three day journey across the world, from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere, Henry finally arrived in his new home of Cochrane, Ontario.

 

He faced a lot of changes in his new home but one thing he took an instant liking to, was snow! It took him a bit longer to warm up to moose meat, seal meat, and seal oil, although now seal oil is among his favourite things.

 

His introduction to Ganuk in 2016 represented a turning point for Henry, as he seemed to finally settle in at the Habitat. His progress continued after his introduction to Inukshuk in 2018.

 

Henry is the most active and enjoys spending his time with the other bears or his enrichments. He prefers to enter the pool bottom first, breaking the ice which forms in the pools and lake, and is known to hoard all of the toys to himself!

Henry is sexually mature and a healthy 920lbs (418kg), but is still considered a sub-adult male and will continue to grow for a few more years.  He is expected to top 1,000lbs (450kg).

Henry Pool-307_edited.jpg
henryCU_edited.jpg
HenryBush-550x413_edited.jpg
Henry Snow-2.jpg

Inukshuk

Age: 18

 

Date of birth: Winter of 2002/2003

 

Place of birth: In the wild near Fort Severn, Ontario

 

Arrival at the Habitat: 2016 full-time (2012 initial)

 

Name: Inukshuk is an Inuktitut word for the marker stones or cairns which are built in the Arctic tundra, probably as landmarks. The literal meaning of the word is “that which acts in the capacity of a human.”

 

Inukshuk was orphaned near Fort Severn, ON, when he was about three months old, in early 2003.

 

He was kept overnight at the local police station then moved to the Toronto Zoo, since young bears need at least two years with their mothers to learn how to survive in the Arctic.

 

Since 2012, he has spent most of his time at the Habitat, returning to the Toronto Zoo occasionally. He has been at the Habitat permanently since 2016.

 

In his time at other facilities, he fathered five cubs: Ganuk, Taiga, Hudson, Humphrey, and Juno.

 

When care staff at the Habitat first met Inukshuk, he was a bit misunderstood. However, with lots of time and dedication from both care staff and Inukshuk, they were able to connect with him and better understand his needs. 

Now, he is the most likely to spend time in the company of people, and he is comfortable enough that he often falls asleep near animal care staff.

 

He is the bear most likely to nap in a pool – or anywhere, for that matter.  Inukshuk tends to dig himself daybeds in the snow, grass, dirt, or other substrate in his environment. He also has a unique napping position, with his arms back and his rear end in the air, although Ganuk is now starting to learn this technique.

 

When Inukshuk was introduced to Henry and Ganuk in 2018, it was the first time he had direct contact with any other males.  It quickly became clear that he would be the one to set the rules (Henry sometimes forgets this). 

 

His time with Henry in particular has been positive for Inukshuk’s muscle development and has enhanced his ability to communicate with other bears.

 

Inukshuk seems the most excited by food, and seal blubber is his favourite. 

 

After four years of training, Inukshuk voluntarily gave blood for the first time in 2020. He was the last of the bears to do so. 

Inukshuk usually weighs around 1,000lbs (450kg) and is the polar bear at the Habitat who is most like the characteristic full-grown male.

Inukshuk-800x600_edited.jpg
InukshukLake-550x413_edited.jpg