Remember the polar bear treadmill? The researchers brought a new work: polar Bear Swimming Machine!
Remember the polar bear treadmill? The researchers brought a new work: polar Bear Swimming Machine!
Take your patience and fish, we're going to start training polar bears.

how to teach a polar bear to use a treadmill? You need five months of endurance training and lots of fish.

in July this year, I mentioned the polar bear treadmill research on this account. In order to understand the energy consumption of polar bears in their daily movement, biologist Anthony Pagano made this magical need to zoo staff: let's train polar bears to use treadmills. (for details, see: how long does it take to get a polar bear on the treadmill? )

and recently the same research team brought their new work: polar Bear Swimming Machine. This time, they built a small pool with a closed cover above (the closed environment is to make it easy to measure oxygen consumption) and let the water circulate through an electric motor, allowing a polar bear to swim in it. Like last time, the purpose of this experiment is to understand the energy consumption of polar bears during exercise and to assess their impact on climate change.

what exactly is it? Let's take a look at the video:

in this experiment, the sub-adult polar bear sister from the Oregon Zoo is named Nora. For the zoo staff here, it takes some time to train polar bears, but it is not particularly difficult. They also give polar bears some training, mainly to enable them to cooperate with health check-ups and medical procedures to avoid unnecessary anaesthesia. Polar bears are smart, as long as they bring enough patience and enough fish.

after 11 months of training, Polar Bear Nora helped researchers collect a series of data on underwater rest, swimming and diving energy consumption. The only regret is that the bear is quite lively and playful, and does not always swim in a straight line in the swimming machine, so it is difficult for researchers to calculate the relationship between swimming speed and energy consumption.

the results show that polar bears consume more energy when swimming, about 1.5 times as much as when walking on a treadmill, and are less energy efficient than many mammals that are more adaptable to living in water. As the climate warms and sea ice melts, polar bears will have to swim more in the sea, which is obviously not good news for them.

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Last July, I also said that I might be able to see the polar bear swimming machine at the end of the period. As a result, I saw _ (: polar "∠) _

before 2018. Details can be found in the paper issued by the research team:

, however, the research data is indeed relatively preliminary, and the sample size is very small.

question picture: Nora in swimming, picture from: Oregon Zoo