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In praise of polar bears

And what our furry, arctic friends have in common with water.

I love polar bears.

Seriously, I’m borderline obsessed with them. It’s been that way since I was a little kid. How can you not love an animal this majestic and adorable?

And with Feb. 27 being International Polar Bear Day, what better time to celebrate this marvelous Ursus maritimus?

But I work for a water utility, not a zoo. Our caretakers may encounter bears from time to time, but they’re not exactly polar in nature. So a story about polar bears from a water utility is a stretch, right?

Humor me. Polar bears and water actually have a lot in common:

  • First, there’s the obvious. The main pool in the polar bear exhibit at the Denver Zoo holds 120,000 gallons of water from yours truly: Denver Water.
  • Polar bears, like our water supply, are impacted by climate change. Just as we must account for a changing climate as we plan for our future, polar bears are trying to adapt to a changing environment as well.
  • Water is in short supply, particularly in Colorado and the Western United States. The polar bear population is dwindling, too. So while Denver Water is building partners across state lines to preserve water supplies, scientists across the world are coming together to protect this magnificent species.
  • Finally, polar bears need water just like every other animal, but they don’t get it like other animals. Polar bears get their water from the chemical reaction in their bodies that breaks down fat. Now that’s efficient water use. We dig that!

There you have it. Polar bears and water — they go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Like I said, I love polar bears. Would I do this to my children otherwise?

As toddlers, the author’s son (left) and daughter dressed in daddy’s favorite costume for Halloween.