About 10 years ago, the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg undertook a massive renovation and part of that renovation was a new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, duplicating the arctic conditions found in Churchill, Manitoba's setting on Hudson Bay. Beyond the normal habitat display, the Centre has serviced a variety of functions including offering public education on the polar bear species and the impact that global warming has on its survival. The habitat also houses various research programs focused on northern wildlife, their natural habitat, and rehabilitating orphaned cubs.
Task at Hand
CIMCO’s experience and technical expertise was used in several areas of the exhibit in order to simulate arctic conditions. One of the most natural features in a polar habitat is frozen sea water or icebergs. At the request of SMS Engineering, consultants for the project, CIMCO developed a concept for the natural freezing of sea water.
The sea water once frozen will float in the exhibit pool, enabling researchers to monitor freeze cycles, bear activity and habits, and study the microorganisms that live in salt water. The water source for the ice blocks is taken directly from Hudson Bay. The icebergs are created over a 24 hour cycle in a CIMCO custom designed, glycol jacketed block-maker, adding to the quality of life for the polar bears and the accompanying seal pool. Of interest, a small storage freezer is part of the CIMCO package for storage of food for the bears and seals.
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