Entrance to Tallinn Zoo (Kristjans)

Facility

Location: Tallinn Zoo, Estonia

Address: Paldiski maantee 145, 13522 Tallinn, Estonia

Telephone: +372 6943 300

Email:  zoo@tallinnzoo.ee

Website: https://polaarium.tallinnzoo.ee/en/ (English language version)

Exhibit: The Polarium (aka Polar Bear World)

Bears

Friida (female). Born 16 December 2006 in Tallinn.  Mother of Aron

Aron (male). Born 26 November 2016 in Tallinn.  Son of Friida.

Details

Tallin Zoo’s new polar bear facility was completed in 2017 and opened at the end of September that year.  The total cost is believed to have been in the region of €4 million.  It includes two pools with a total water capacity of 3,000 cubic metres.  The pools are joined by a tunnel which includes an underwater viewing area. Surfaces within the enclosure are of grass, rocks and gravel.

The project to build the new facility was initiated by Veronika Padar and Olivia Elise Luggenberg who first met each other in the summer of 2012 in front of the polar bear enclosure of the zoo.  They were distressed by the appalling living conditions of the bears (including present resident Friida) who were housed in a small reconstructed former military storehouse. They approached the zoo and expressed their concerns. 

Following this a major fundraising campaign was started to raise funds for new accommodation for the bears. In autumn 2016 Tallinn City allotted €1.28 million towards the construction of the Polarium, adding a further €1.3 million in 2017.

On 29 June 2016, Tallinn Department of Culture, Tallinn Zoo and Astlanda Construction Ltd signed a contract for the construction of the facility.  Construction began in the autumn of that year.

We await further information form the zoo on the facilities, both inside and outside and on the health, feeding and enrichment regimes.

Concerns

  1. Use of bears for breeding purposes
  2. Despite being a huge in improvement on the previous facility the present enclosure appears relatively small
  3.  The enclosure appears to be very open with no places for the bears to hide and has no vegetation (other than  grass).  It has too few elevated areas for the bears to climb.
  4. There is evidence to suggest that the bears are not permitted free access to the inside and outside areas, being locked inside from 16.30 to 10.00 each day.

We do not at present have reliable information on the feeding, exercise, medical and enrichment regimes at Tallinn.

More Information

Overhead view of the Polarium supplied by Tallinn Zoo

The video below shows Friida and Arun exploring their new enclosure. This was published by the Zoo on 2 October 2017.

Page updated 22 July 2019

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