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How are you, Taiko? November 11, 2021

Our visitors can often see that our animal carers give Taiko treats or toys from the stone balcony above the polar bear enclosure. Taiko is our popular polar bear cub. Regular enrichment is important for the animals’ well-being.

The current polar bear in our zoo, Taiko, arrived in the fall of 2020 from France. Unfortunately, the Budapest Zoo had to be closed to the public due to the pandemic when he arrived, so at first, our visitors could only get acquainted with the newcomer with the help of pictures and short films published on the Internet. In fact, last December we showed you how the bear was visited by Saint Nicholas. In the spring, when we were able to reopen our gates, the general public could finally meet him, but we still tried to keep reporting regularly about Taiko on our website.

In our latest short film, we'll show you some examples of the many ways the animal carers try to please the little bear with snacks and games, or a combination of these (for example, a ball covered with a tasty treat). We have written several times about the importance of enriching the environment of zoo animals. This time, let the pictures speak for themselves.

Our zoo has a more than a hundred-year-old history when it comes to keeping polar bears. The enclosure, in use today, was completed in 2006 with the significant expansion of the original 1912 space. But even before the conversion, the enclosure, which was much more modest in size in the past, was home to a total of 59 polar bears in almost a hundred years, 39 of whom were born here in Budapest.

The first polar bear cub to grow to adulthood in Budapest was born in the winter of 1933/1934, which was a huge professional achievement, as at that time there were only eight or ten zoos in the world where polar bears were born at all, and they were raised successfully in only five zoos before 1934 (Cologne, Leipzig, Stockholm, Milwaukee, Cincinnati). Perhaps there are those who still remember the famous polar bear cub at the Berlin Zoo by the name of Knut. Did you know that his paternal great-grandfather was also born here?

Today, we are involved in finding a home for the male specimens needed for the European polar bear breeding program, and, like all other zoo polar bears, Taiko is also an "ambassador" for wild polar bears, helping to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change as well as other man-made effects that pose a serious threat to the survival of Arctic wildlife, which includes polar bears.