Saluting Polar Bear Juno, now a Master Corporal

Introducing the polar bear who "bears" an official rank!


Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Juno is one special, well-respected bear. This female polar bear just celebrated her fifth birthday at the Toronto Zoo, receiving a certificate of appreciation and the rank of Honorary Master Corporal in the Canadian army. Highly respected as an Arctic ambassador, she is helping to spread awareness for her polar bear relatives living in the wild.

It was one happy birthday for this polar bear, complete with an award ceremony, a framed certificate, a photo shoot, and lots of publicity. In fact, the zoo posted on  Facebook that she is the first polar bear to “bear” an official rank.

Polar bears are considered a vulnerable species, their numbers dwindling due to habitat loss as a result of climate change. They hunt for seals from sea ice, however, global warming is melting the ice earlier every spring, causing them to suffer from malnutrition and starvation.

Dolf de Jong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo, stated in a press release, “Juno and the other polar bears that call the Toronto Zoo home, play an integral role in educating our guests about the direct impact of climate change and the loss of sea ice that directly impacts polar bears in the wild.”

Enter Juno with her brothers Hudson and Humphrey, hard-working urban ambassadors of those wild bears on the Arctic ice floes. Brigadier-General Conrad Mialkowski commended Juno, explaining that in her position, she has already been on an 18-month-long mission in Winnipeg and is advancing her leadership skills. “In her short career, Juno has demonstrated her strength, bravery, agility and resilience,” Mialkowski said in the press release.

Polar bears are a Canadian national treasure. The Inuit and Alaska native people have a deep respect for this incredible animal who plays a strong role in their traditions. And this respect is acknowledged to this day, with the Canadian two-dollar coin proudly displaying a polar bear on its reverse side.

After Juno’s promotion was publicized on Facebook with great bravado, the birthday bear received lots of fan mail, including 120 congratulatory comments. One woman wrote, “Fantastic Juno!! Congratulations Master Corporal!! A great way to spend your birthday. Good for her! It’s great to see young women moving up in the ranks.”

The publicity Juno is now receiving helps raise awareness about the vulnerability of polar bears and the importance of curbing climate change. Sending congratulations and a furry, polar bear hug to Juno!

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