Situated on 70 acres of sub-arctic boreal forest, the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is a results- and action-driven research and education centre that unites and inspires people to learn more about polar bears, their care and conservation.
The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is the largest human care facility in the world, dedicated solely to polar bears. With 24 acres of pristine, natural environment, the enclosures also feature a spring-fed lake that provides an ice platform for up to seven months of the year.
We are here for the bears. We know the best place for polar bears is their natural environment in the wild, but we are committed to raising the standard of care for the bears that could not survive there. If polar bears have to be in human care, our staff and supporters seek to give them the best life possible, on their terms. Knowing we are learning as much as we can, while actively improving their lives, compels our passionate mission.
Since we only have polar bears, our bearkeepers can dedicate all of their time to learning how polar bears communicate, about their nutritional needs, physiology, reproduction and behaviours.
We team up with leading researchers, scientists, behaviourists, nutritionists, reproductive physiologists, and biologists.
We believe sharing lessons learned is the only way to improve the standard of care of and create a sustainable future for the polar bear species. That is why we offer a variety of educational classes in and outside schools as well as share our facility improvements and/or bear care with other institutions.
The Polar Bear Habitat’s location in Northern Ontario affords us better access to communities on the Southern Coast of James Bay where recent studies have shown a marked decline in polar bear body condition. With the help of some very dedicated partners, we are committed to finding solutions to keep both communities and polar bears safe.