Marissa & Grace (Zoosafari Fasano)
Location: Zoosafari Fasanolandia
Address: Via dello ZooSafari, 72015 Fasano BR, Italy
Telephone: +39 080 441 4455
Exhibit: Polar bears are exhibited in the “Lake of the Large Mammals”
Marissa (female). Born 25 December 1993 in captivity at Kolmården Wildlife Park, Seden. Arrived in Fasno from Vienna in March 1996. Mother of Grace (see below).
Grace (female). Born 06 December 2012 in captivity in Fasno.
While many of the animals are located in the safari park area of the zoo, the Lake of the Large Animals exhibit is in the pedestrian access area. The zoo has confirmed that the bears have access to shade during the day, and that sprinklers, misters, fans and air conditioning are provided. There are fresh water pools for swimming and the water quality is monitored and the temperature regulated. The pools, which are equipped with filters, are cleaned weekly in the summer and less frequently in the winter. Ice piles are provided for the bears during hot weather.
During daylight the bears have access to both on and off-exhibit areas, indoors and outdoors. They do not usually have access to outside areas at night. Nesting materials are provided. The total outdoor area is around 1,100 square metres (11,840 square feet). Around 30% of this area consists of pools of varying depths, 20% or rocks, waterfalls and underlying grottos and the reaming 50% contains live trees and a mix of hard and soft substrates. The outdoor area can be split into two self-contained areas enabling the two bears to be separated. They can also be separated off-exhibit.
The bears’ diet consists of a number of species of fish, meat (mainly horse meat) with some greens and bread. Salt and multi-mineral integrators are also provided. Weekly veterinary inspections are performed and facilities exist to take blood samples when necessary.
Staff are always on hand to provide enrichment. This includes various toys and food items, including food in ice. The bears are also trained in specific behaviours, or “tricks”.
Fasno’s polar bears are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for captive breeding. The zoo hopes to obtain a male bear, possibly as an exchange for one of the female bears.
Source: Zoosafari Fasano – March 2021. We thank the zoo for their cooperation and assistance.
- 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.
- This is a relatively old facility. The bears are well cared for but space is very limited. Anecdotally it would seem that the site has the space and potential to provide updated and modernised facilities for the bears but this would, clearly, be an expensive undertaking.
The video below was published on 14 May 2018 and shows the polar bear enclosure at Fasano and the three bears then on exhibition there.