San Francisco zoo polar bears celebrate birthday with tons of snow

November 15, 2012 4:05:56 PM PST
It will be a cold day at the San Francisco Zoo today as the zoo celebrates the birthdays of two polar bears by bringing in 10 tons of snow.

The polar bears -- Pike, 30, and Ulu, 32 -- are among the oldest bears at accredited zoos in the U.S., and to honor their longevity, fresh snow is being blown into their habitat this morning, zoo officials said.

San Francisco Bulls hockey players Hans Benson and Chris Frank will be on hand to shoot fish pucks into the bears' enclosure as a birthday treat.

Before the celebration this morning, the hockey team's mascot, Rawhide the bull, was busy prepping a hose to blow a small blizzard into the bear exhibit, zoo spokeswoman Abigail Tuller said.

Polar bears in the wild have a lifespan of about 15 years, zoo officials said.

Also kicking off at the zoo this morning is an exhibit only Santa Claus could have planned: the Reindeer Romp.

Four real-life reindeer -- Belle, Holly, Peppermint and Velvet -- will be ready to greet zoo visitors today through Jan. 1.