A polar bear at Cincinnati Zoo, 2016 (Carol M Highsmith / Library of Congress)


Location:  Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Address:  3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45220, USA

Telephone:  +1 513 281 4700

Website contact form:  http://cincinnatizoo.org/about-us/contact-us/

Website:  http://cincinnatizoo.org

Exhibit:  Lords of the Arctic


Little One (male) was euthanized, aged 31 on 27 March 2021.  The zoo currently has no polar bears.


The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the sixth-oldest zoo in the United States, having opened in 1873.  The zoo’s polar bears are housed in the “Lords of the Arctic” exhibit which opened in 2000.  They are one of two species in the exhibit, the other being Arctic foxes.  The total area for both species is 21,000 square feet (2,050 square metres).

The exhibit includes a waterfall and stream and a 70,000 gallon (265,000 litre) pool that stretches between the two enclosures. Visitors are able to view the bears underwater through a number of observation windows.  Open air viewing is also available with the bears separated from visitors by a moat.  There is also “face-to-face” viewing through thick glass.

The zoo is also home to the Polar Bear Signature Project.  The project studies captive polar bear physiology with a view to pinpointing the causes of reproductive failure.  Work also includes the development of “assisted reproductive technologies”, such as artificial insemination (AI) and semen collection.


  1. Insufficient space for the bears. While apparently meeting the Manitoba standard for total land area (500 square metres for one or two polar bears) the facility falls far short of Newfoundland’s minimum standard of 4,500 square metres for two bears ( quoted in Zoocheck Canada, 1997).
  2. Captive breeding programme.

Further information was requested from the zoo on 15 March 2021 and a response is awaited.  We understand that a daily enrichment programme was in place for Little One and that he received a special “geriatric” diet. 

More Information

None at present.

Return to Captive Polar Bear Directory

Page updated 29 March 2021