A polar bear living his best life as snow falls on his Chicago zoo has been captured on video.
The footage was shot at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago on February 2 and shows the male polar bear Hudson roll about gleefully in fresh snow in his enclosure.
The large bear shakes himself off during the footage and proceeds to roll about again, seemingly enjoying it, as the snow that blanketed the city during a winter storm on February 2 falls around him. Up to seven inches of snow fell in some areas of Chicago on Wednesday. The National Weather Service listed the city under a winter weather advisory on Thursday.
There are approximately 300 polar bears in captivity around the world according to non-profit Bear Conservation. Their numbers in the wild are estimated at between 22,000-30,000 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), who consider them a vulnerable species. The animals are at risk of extinction in the coming decades amid the global warming caused by climate change.
Polar bears in human care typically survive for 23.4 years on average according to data published by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In the wild they can survive up to 30 years but their average life span is considerably shorter according to Polar Bears International, who said polar bears live an average of 15-18 years.
Hudson was born at the zoo in 2006 and currently weighs around 1,000 pounds, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) said. Male bears can weigh up to 1,300 pounds. He was named after Hudson Bay, where polar bears frequently gather to hunt seals during the colder months when the bay freezes over.
The zoo said that a close relationship between staff and Hudson has allowed them to take periodical blood samples from the bear that help them monitor his health and also support the scientific research undertaken by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
Polar bears typically hunt seals in the wild as their main diet. The CZS said that in captivity, polar bears like Hudson are fed a mix of herring, trout, lard, bones and high-protein dog food among other sources of nutrition.
Hudson’s latest starring role on video is not his breakout appearance. In April 2021, footage of him meeting five-year-old female Hope at the Brookfield Zoo was also published online. The zoo said that Hope had been transferred from Utah’s Hogle Zoo at the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan amid the possibility that the two could mate and reproduce at the zoo.