San Diego polar bears get snowy surprise: 26 tons of snow to play in (VIDEO)

© Ilya Naymushin
Polar bears in San Diego Zoo received an early Christmas present last Friday: A white Christmas. While many people flock to San Diego for the warm climate, the three polar bears were treated to 26 tons of snow blanketing their enclosure.

The San Diego Zoo created the Polar conditions by using a snow blower, a gift courtesy of donations to the zoo’s Animal Care Wish List.

The three bears, Kalluk, Tatqiq, and Chinook, were delighted by the change of pace in the Polar Bear Plunge Enclosure. They were filmed rolling, digging, and sliding through the manmade snow.

These natural behaviors are meant “to help them break through ice to reach seal dens,” the zoo said on its website. While there were no seal dens to reach, the bears were hot in pursuit of yams, carrots, melons, and beef femur bones buried throughout the exhibit.

This holiday present couldn’t have gone to better bears, either. All three bears were orphaned at a young age and had to learn these natural behaviors on their own. However, gifts such as the snow blower provide enrichment and stimulation for the bears, encouraging them to hone their natural instincts.

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Although the snow eventually melted in San Diego’s 60-degree heat, you can still check out the bears on the live stream of the enclosure.