CHICAGO — Monday's "Chiberia" weather was just too much for Lincoln Park Zoo's resident polar bear to handle, but apparently slightly higher (yet still subzero) temperatures enticed her out of her den Tuesday.
Lincoln Park Zoo posted on its Facebook page Tuesday morning:
"Polar bear Anana may have opted to dodge the cold yesterday, but caregivers report she's explored her outdoor yard a couple times this morning. She always has the option to stay inside her cozy den, of course!"
As the temperature reached a record low of 16 degrees below zero, Anana, the zoo's only polar bear, was kept inside a "climate-controlled" area, spokeswoman Sharon Dewar said.
The 12-year-old bear's indoor habitat is generally kept at 40 to 50 degrees, Dewar said, and Anana often likes to spend some of her winters indoors. That's partly because Anana's blubber isn't as quite thick as the blubber of polar bears who live in the Arctic, Dewar said.
On Tuesday, zookeepers gave her the option to come on out. The temperature was about 10 degrees below zero in the morning, and while many Chicagoans tried to escape the cold, Anana saw fit to come out and explore.
But the zoo is closing early, Dewar said, so she'll be back inside by about 3 p.m.
"The health and safety of the animals is the primary concern for us," Dewar said.