Why it is cruel to keep polar bears at Jimmy's Farm

By Guest author

10th Oct 2023 | Readers Letters

Polar bears belong in the arctic - not Suffolk (Picture: SWNS
Polar bears belong in the arctic - not Suffolk (Picture: SWNS

Dear Sir/Madam

I was appalled to read the article in Nub News about polar bears being held at Jimmy's Farm.

Quite simply polar bears belong in the arctic - not a small park in south Suffolk. There are only about 20,000 polar bears left in the wild, these sentient beings are listed as vulnerable. Breeding them in captive entertainment venues does not contribute to conservation in any way. 

I saw Jimmy's farm claim they were 'rescuing these bears, one of which has already died before reaching Wherstead, however there is no proof to back this claim. Even the park from where they came makes clear they were rehousing all the animals due to redevelopment, but no mention of putting any to sleep/

Either ways, polar bears suffer from being in captivity and here are a few reasons why.

Polar bears can swim vast distances

Since they spend a large amount of their time in the ocean, polar bears are the only bears considered marine mammals. Their water-repellent fur insulates them from the cold air and water, and it is not unusual to find a polar bear more than 50 kilometres away from land. However, the polar bears at Jimmy's Farm only have access to a pool that can barely be compared to the ocean they are used to in the wild.

Polar bears are the largest carnivores in the world

Polar bears are keen hunters and typically spend half of their time in the wild hunting for food – typically seals. However, this instinct is diminished in many zoos etc because they are fed a diet that includes dead sardines in oil, herring, veal, pork, chicken, olive oil and, strangely – watermelon.

Polar bears thrive in an environment of snow and ice

Polar bears have dense fur, a thick layer of fat to keep them warm and small bumps under their paws to stop them from slipping on ice – all of which show that they belong in their natural environment in the wild. Look out of your window to see our weather These bears are unlikely to much, if any snow and ice.

Polar bears are among the widest-ranging terrestrial mammals

In the wild, polar bears can have home ranges of a few hundred thousand square kilometres. We have yet to see the polar bear enclosure but it is fair bet it will be less than 1% the size of their natural home range. 

Polar bears have a highly evolved sense of smell. This means they can sniff out their prey from an entire kilometre away and even below a whole metre of snow. But at Sea World, they are exposed to many foreign smells as well as the scent of their natural prey, seals who are housed nearby.

Polar bears have hearing similar to that of humans

In the wild, polar bears live most of their lives in silence. But at Jimmy's Farm they will be exposed to loud noises and vibrations, including a railway line and occasional fireworks and loud music from events.

Polar bears are protective of their cubs

In the wild, mother polar bears are very protective of their cubs and often risk their own lives to defend them. Unfortunately, in captivity, more than 50% of polar bear cubs die within the first month of their lives and there will be similar concerns should Jim's farm try to instigate breeding.

Polar bears are vulnerable to extinction

With only 22,000 polar bears left in the wild, these sentient beings are listed as vulnerable. However, breeding them in captive entertainment venues does not contribute to conservation in any way. Genuine efforts of conservation should work towards preserving and protecting polar bears in their natural habitat.

It is worth noting that not a single captive-bred polar bear has ever been successfully released into the wild, which leaves us with the question: Is Jimmy's Farm keeping polar bears in captivity for the benefit of the species or their own?

Yours sincerely

David Bell



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