Alaska Zoo polar bear gifted giant, plastic pickle
Polar bears are known for being the largest carnivores on land and have specific taste when it comes to what they like to eat.
So what do you get one of the Arctic’s giants as a welcome gift? Finding the answer can be a real pickle.
One of the Alaska Zoo’s newest residents is still settling in. Cranbeary, a 16-year-old female from the Denver Zoo, came to Alaska in October last year. To help her feel at home, a local restaurant got an idea.
“We had heard through the grapevine that Cranbeary’s favorite toy when she was at the Denver Zoo was a pickle and us being a sandwich shop we thought that would be a really fun opportunity to welcome her to the zoo,” Polar Dip’s co-owner Danielle Wynne said.
Throughout a month-long fundraiser, Polar Dip's menu featured the Cranbeary special: a turkey and cheddar melt with cranberry chutney. Half of the proceeds were donated to the Alaska Zoo and used to purchase a five-pound, 40-inch plastic pickle toy for about $250.
Cranbeary discovered the gift almost immediately when it was placed in her exhibit on Tuesday.
“We didn’t have a full understanding of just how much she enjoyed this pickle,” the zoo’s development director Jill Myer said.
Cranbeary wasn’t the only fan of the new toy. The zoo's male polar bear Lyutyik quickly stole the pickle for his share of the fun.
“We didn’t realize it was going to be so popular. They have been fighting over it,” Wynne said.
All of the fun and fighting led to the destruction of the toy. The biggest pickle now is that the zoo doesn’t have another.
“Hopefully we’ll get two pickles so there won’t be so much competition," Myer said.
An elementary school class has already promised to help raise more money for more polar bear pickles. However, the zoo says before the accept any more pickle donations they are going to inspect the first one to make sure it was safe and didn’t harm the polar bears.
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