View of the polar bear pool area (courtesy of Le Monde Sauvage – used with permission)
Location: Le Monde Sauvage, d’Aywaille, Belgium
Address: Fange de Deigné 3, 4920 Aywaille, Belgium
Telephone: +32 (0)4 360 90 70
Exhibit: Bear Canyon
Blanche (female). Born 01 December 1993 in Le Monde Sauvage
Qanik (female). Born 25 November in Le Monde Sauvage (daughter of Blanche)
Le Monde Sauvage (“The Wild World”) opened in 1975 and includes a safari park. The original polar bear enclosure, which includes a large pool, has been enriched with different substrates and playing tools.
A second area, the forest enclosure, has been constructed, adjacent to the pool area. The zoo describes this as a large naturalistic enclosure (see photo below).
The forest enclosure includes a training/transport box. Off exhibit there are two large rooms for a male bear and three large rooms for the two females. These rooms include two large denning areas with camera surveillance.
Page source: Le Monde Sauvage, March 2021.
- Captive breeding programme. Captive bears can serve as ambassadors for their species and Arctic habitat and increase awareness of the climate emergency. They can also be used for non-invasive scientific research that would be impossible in the wild and which can ultimately benefit the entire species. However, many of the cubs born in captivity die within a few years, or even months, of birth. Breeding polar bears in captivity can never “save the bears” from extinction, nor repopulate the wild. No captive-born polar bear has ever been successfully released into the wild; indeed to do so would be contrary to IUCN regulations.
- We don’t have full information on the total area available to the bears although it seems likely that this exceeds the Manitoba Standards. (In 2002 the Canadian Polar Bear Protection Act was enacted, the so called “Manitoba Standards”, which sets out minimum accommodation standards and other regulations relating to captive polar bears. You can download a copy here.)
We do not at present have detailed information on the feeding, medical and enrichment regimes at Le Monde Sauvage.
The video below, published in May 2016, gives an idea of the pool enclosure area.