The Atlantic

How to Train a Polar Bear to Walk on a Treadmill

“It takes a lot of patience.”
Source: Anthony Pagano / USGS

When the San Diego Zoo got a call asking whether they could train a polar bear to walk on a treadmill, as Megan Owen remembers it, their first reaction was: Sure!

Owen is a biologist at the zoo, and her colleagues there regularly train polar bears in, let’s say, un-polar-bear-esque tasks. Their bears have learned to reach out their paws for voluntary blood draws. One female polar bear,, where she learned to press her nose on a pad when she heard a sound. “Polar bears are incredibly intelligent animals,” Owen says. It just takes patience and many, many buckets of raw meat and fish.

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