Entrance to Tiger Beach Ocean Park (China Tours Online Blog)

Facility

Location:  Tiger Beach (Laohutan) Ocean Park (Pole Aquarium) (老虎滩海洋公园)

Address:  9 Middle Binghai Road, Zhongshan District, Dalian 116013, China

Telephone:  +86-411-82689356

Email:  Not found

Website:  www.laohutan.com.cn

Exhibit:  Polar Region Marine Animals World

Bears

NOTE:  We believe that the bears listed below are NOT polar bear but rather brown bear / polar bear hybrids.  The Ocean Park however maintains that they are polar bears.  See “Details” section below for more information.

Nina (female).  Birth details not known but per Chinese press reports probably circa 1998, we believe possibly in Belgrade, Serbia but see “Details” belowArrived in Dalian in 2001

Vicky (female).  Born 2012 in Tianjin, China

Phineas (male).  Birth details not known but per Chinese press reports probably circa 1991, we believe possibly in Belgrade, Serbia but see “Details” below.  Arrived in Dalian in 2001.

Unknown (male).  No details at present, but probably one of the male twins born 14 October 2011 (see below) and shown in the video at the foot of this page

Details

Hybrids or polar bears?

There is strong evidence to suggest that the bears here, and their offspring at various other facilities in China, are hybrids of brown bears and polar bears.  The circumstantial evidence detailed below is strongly supported by the physical appearance of the offspring, particularly the twins born on 7 January 2011 and now at Wuhan Haichang Polar Ocean Park.

In June 2008 Nina gave birth to twins whom she deserted.  The cubs were hand-reared and only a male cub, Tao Tao, survived and he is now at Chengdu Haichang Polar Ocean Park.

There were reports of another litter of twins being born in 2009 but it is believed that neither bear survived.

On 7 January 2011 Nina gave birth to a male and a female cub who, again, had to be hand-reared.  Even as small cubs the two bears, whilst white, appeared to have some brown bear features, not least the shape of their heads.  They are now at Wuhan Haichang Polar Ocean Park and their pelage as well as some aspects of their physiognomy strongly suggest they are hybrids.

A further pair of twins were born on 14 October 2011, both males, and once again had to be hand-reared.  Chinese media reported that the parents had been a gift to China from the Finnish Government.  There is no evidence to support this contention which has been the subject of investigations and denials in the Finnish press.  There are no records of bears in Finland  who could have been transferred to China.

We suspect that the Ocean Park staff who informed the press of the Finish origins of Nina and Phineas believed what they were saying but if, as seems almost certain, both (or at the very least one) of these bears are hybrids then the Finnish story is a “cover-up”.  Circumstantial evidence suggests the bears came from Belgrade Zoo in Serbia from where brown bear / polar bear hybrids are known to have been exported to China.

With thanks and acknowledgement to the German website Eisbären im Zoo (Polar Bears in Zoos) with which much of the above information was cross-checked and verified.

Tiger Beach Ocean Park

Tiger Beach Ocean Park (also known as Laohutan Ocean Park) is the largest of its kind in China with a total area of 1,180,000 square meters (about 291 acres).  Publicity states that it includes the largest polar aquarium in the world.

Polar Region Marine Animals World in the Park houses polar bears, beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, elephant seals, penguins and wildfowl . There is a 2,000 seat performance hall in the Aquarium where a tacky, cruel and tasteless show is put on several times a day (for example; applying pink lipstick to a beluga whale).

Worryingly publicity for the Park states that “you can touch polar bears and reindeer personally”.

Concerns

  1. Unsuitable climate with hot summer temperatures
  2. Captive breeding programme
  3. Treatment of animals as “cuddly toys” and playthings
  4. We are still trying to obtain more information on the polar bear facility but strongly suspect that it is small and unsuitable given visitor reports and videos.

 We have no information on Tiger Beach’s bear feeding, exercise, medical and enrichment regimes.

The video below was shot on 15 July 2012 at Tiger Beach and states tat it is of a Polar / Kodiak hybrid cub.  We believe this to be one of the two cubs born on 14 October 2011 and suspect that the second cub may not have survived.

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