Ageing polar bear goes off on his holidays for a spring clean

FOR years he has attracted younger visitors to Hull’s Maritime Museum, but now the polar bear, one of its most popular exhibits, is going away for a long summer holiday.

The stuffed animal – a 9ft adult male – is going away for conservation and won’t be back until the winter.

The piece came to the museum in the 1970s from Dundee, where it arrived in the 19th century on a whaler, having been shot in the Arctic. Sailors often brought home specimens of wild animals alive or dead as an extra source of income.

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Work on the bear will cost about £2,600 and has been paid for by money from a donations box fund given by the public.

Curator Robin Diaper said: “He’s probably one of our two most popular exhibits along with the full-size whale skeleton. He just captures peoples’ imaginations and sometimes children with their families will pop into the museum to see him on the way to somewhere else.

“Part of the problem is that he’s slumping on one shoulder which is about to give way, it could be tomorrow or it could be in 10 years time. He needs strengthening as well as cleaning.”

The work is being carried out by Lancashire Conservation Studios. Once back the bear will go under a cover to protect it from further decay.