After four months of nonstop beauty sleep, the well-rested bears of the Moscow Zoo are finally ready to show their furry faces to the public.
At the zoo's new “Island of the Beasts” enclosure, visitors can watch the two Himalayan bears and one Kamchatka brown bear frolic, play and even hunt. Later in the season, zookeepers will release fish into the exhibit’s pools for the brown bear to catch, the local mos.ru news website reported.
As they lie dormant on warm straw beds and outside temperatures fall below zero, the bears lose 20 to 30 percent of their body weight. The zoo’s Himalayan bears now weigh approximately 250 kilograms, while the brown bear weighs around 400 kilograms.
While bears in the wild have to be ready to readjust as soon as they wake up, the end of hibernation at the Moscow Zoo is a gradual, stress-free process.
Having not eaten a hearty meal in months, the bears are reintroduced to food slowly — starting with small portions of berries and fruits and later moving on to larger portions including meat.
And because zookeepers know that no one likes to be unexpectedly woken up from a deep, dreamy sleep, they are careful not to disturb the fluffy predators as they get used to a regular sleep schedule.
These early spring months may still be the sleepy period, but with each passing day, the bears will become more energized and active.