Renovation work on Hellabrunn's Polar World to begin soon

The revamped Polar World will set new standards with more spacious enclosures, more polar animals and more efficient use of water.

Copyright: Rasbach Architekten

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Tobias Hase

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

As part of the modernisation programme at Hellabrunn Zoo, the Polar World will be closed for upgrading from autumn 2015. The redesigned polar centre will reflect a closer adherence to the geo-zoo concept by creating a paradise not only for polar bears, various species of penguins and sea lions, but also for Arctic foxes, wolverines and snow owls. Polar World is expected to reopen in 2017.

At present, residents at Polar World include California sea lions. However, as this species actually lives on the west coast of North America in the wild, and not in a polar region, the Munich zoo has decided to part with the species. But one sea lion will still live at Hellabrunn: the South American sea lion. The departure of the California sea lions signifies a greater emphasis on the geo-zoo principle of arranging animal enclosures according to their geographical origin in the wild, with animals from the same continent living together.

Before phase 2 of construction works for the Polar World begins this autumn, new homes will have to be found for the Californian sea lions to move to in other European zoos. So far, some of the animals from the former 11-member group have already been transferred to Zoo Plaisance du Touch in France, Sea Park Sarbsk in Poland and Cologne Zoo. There are now only five California Sea Lions living at Hellabrunn Zoo: three females (Goldie, Sandy and Molly) and two males (Barney and Nick). They, too, will move to other zoos before the start of construction in September. In transferring the animals, Hellabrunn Zoo ensures that the core breeding group stays together.

Zoo director Rasem Baban describes the planning and construction project: "The renovated Polar World will be home to water-, land- and air-based animals from the polar regions. Even among the animals living at the zoo, some species that are not yet living in Polar World will be transferred there. These include Arctic foxes and wolverines. Snow owls will also arrive at Hellabrunn for the first time. Environmental awareness will also play an important role in the renovation. For example, we plan to install a revolutionary water filtration system. Construction will begin after the summer holidays.”