Highlands & Islands

Polar bears in Highlands 'getting on well'

Walker (right) with Arktos
Image caption It is hoped the polar bears will establish a relationship of friendly competitiveness

A polar bear in the Highlands is being gradually introduced to a new playmate who has joined him from Germany.

Three-year-old Walker at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kincraig, was the only polar bear in a UK public zoo.

But last week he was introduced to a new companion - Arktos, a four-year-old male bear from Hannover in Germany.

Animal collection manager Douglas Richardson said initial signs indicated that the young bears would get on well together.

The park hopes that the bears will establish a relationship of friendly competitiveness.

Mr Richardson said: "We're delighted to have a second male polar bear join us in the Highlands.

"Great company for Walker, Arktos will provide companionship, greater enrichment and stimulation - which will enhance Walker's suitably complex lifestyle.

"The initial signs are good that both youngsters will get on well together, judging by their first encounters.

"Immature males do tend to react well to each other when they meet, but it will be a gradual series of introductions before Arktos moves in totally with Walker. "

Professional wrestlers

He added: "Walker is a great bear who is full of fun and character, and it seems that Arktos is exactly the same.

"It will be great to see the pair interact with each other and observe how their companionship develops over time.

"Introducing two 400kg carnivores is, of course, a tad nerve-wracking, but so far it has all been rough play that would make a professional heavy-weight wrestler proud".

The bears will share a five acre bachelor pad, complete with a pond big enough for two and enough space for morning runs and afternoon wrestles.

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