Arctic animals are coming to town

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 June, 2012, 12:00am


Two new species, the snowy owl and the northern sea lion, will meet the public when Ocean Park's newest exhibit, Polar Adventure, opens in July - but they will not be alone.

Walruses, three species of penguins and Arctic foxes will also call the park home. The exhibit will 'raise awareness of climate change and allow visitors to create an emotional connection with the animals', says Suzanne Gendron, head of Zoological Operations and Education at Ocean Park.

Both the North Pole Encounter and South Pole Spectacular have seating areas so that park ambassadors can introduce the animals to visitors.

'Nothing compares to the wild, [but] nothing left is truly wild,' says Gendron, explaining that many natural environments are in danger.

From transportation to precise temperature control, no effort was spared to provide the animals with the best environment possible. Animal trainers took turns travelling overseas to get to know the animals before their move to Hong Kong, to make sure they would not be exposed to all brand-new faces.

Not only is the enclosure designed to be large enough for 'both mental and physical enrichment', it also encourages natural behaviour. Rocky rookeries have been created for the sea lions to relax in, as well as a six-metre-deep pool to exercise their diving skills. A high perch will allow guests to see the snowy owls spread their wings and swoop down to the trainer below - it might even remind you of Harry Potter, as Hedwig was of the same breed.