As temperatures rose to more than 90 degrees over the July 4th holiday weekend, Louie and Cranberry cooled off by rolling in large piles of shaved ice provided by the processing facility and swam in their deep water pool.
“It’s important that we support the zoo, to give these animals some joy in the hot weather,” said Marty Weiser, chief development officer for Copper River Seafoods. “It’s very exciting for us to see the positive impact [of the ice shavings] on these animals in this hot weather.”
Getting involved with the community is part of Copper River Seafood’s culture, he said. “We are very Alaska centric. It’s a great community and we’re supportive of it.”
Providing shaved ice for the zoo has become a tradition for Copper River Seafoods over the past few years. The company also sends large blocks of salmon and halibut filled ice “cake” for polar bear birthday party each January.
In the midst of its busy commercial salmon fishery season, Copper River Seafoods provides the zoo some 2,000 pounds of ice several times a month.
The polar bears stick their noses in it, then spread it out and roll in it, said Patrick Lampi, executive director of the zoo.
Other zoo fans offer a portion of their catch to the zoo animals, Lampi explained. “Alaskans are good fishermen and they are generous,” he said of the many donations of salmon and other wild Alaska fish coming from residents’ freezers.