America’s Oldest Polar Bear Turns 36

Michele Debczak
Jane Kirkland via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Jane Kirkland via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Jane Kirkland via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Today the oldest zoo in America celebrates the birthday of one of its oldest residents. On December 13, Coldilocks the polar bear turned 36 years old, making her the oldest polar bear in America.

Coldilocks spent the first few months of her life at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York before moving to her current home at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1981. She arrived there at the same time as another polar bear cub named Klondike. Just a month her senior, Klondike previously held the title of oldest polar bear in the country before passing away last year at age 34. The life expectancy for a polar bear is normally up to 30 years in captivity and just 15 to 18 years in the wild.

In addition to being the Philadelphia Zoo’s oldest polar bear, Coldilocks is the zoo’s only ambassador for her species. Last year the staff celebrated her big day with two peanut-filled pumpkins and an ice “cake” loaded with fruit, granola, and peanut butter icing on top. If you aren’t able to make it to Philly to see Coldilocks in person this year, you can mark the occasion by watching this festive throwback video of her and Klondike playing in the snow.