Thursday, August 29, 2013

RIP: Gus - New York's iconic (and slightly weird) polar bear

There are not a huge number of ways to become famous as a polar bear. Gus somehow managed to do it by behaving like a perfectly ordinary New Yorker: he was neurotic. He became the Neurotic Polar Bear...

...Polar bears are among the most beloved animals, but Gus was something else. In 1994, notice was drawn to his peculiar swimming protocol. He would plop into the pool and swim lap after lap in figure-eight patterns, pawing his way through the water with powerful backstrokes. He did this for as many as 12 hours a day. Every day. Every week. Every month.

Zoo visitors found the repetitive swimming by the 700-pound polar bear mesmerizing. Zoo ticket sales shot up. Tourists and New Yorkers alike flocked to glimpse what had become a novelty act: the endlessly swimming bear.

But zoo officials became increasingly worried. Why was he doing this? Was it something physical? Was it woman problems? Was he having a nervous breakdown?
Read the rest here.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Gus was awesome. Gonna miss him!