Photographing Willy, The Nilly Silly Old Polar Bear : The Picture Show Willy was formerly a circus bear. Today, from the safety of a zoo, he often poses for photographer Valerie Abbott.
NPR logo Photographing Willy, The Nilly Silly Old Polar Bear

Photographing Willy, The Nilly Silly Old Polar Bear

Valerie Abbott has spent a lot of time photographing polar bears. We spotted some of her new work in our Flickr group, in which she documented the bears in the wilds of Manitoba, Canada, while volunteering for Polar Bears International.

But she also has dozens of photos of one particular polar bear, Wilhelm or Willy, at the North Carolina Zoo, where she volunteers.

Willy was formerly part of a circus where he was mistreated but was rescued in 2001 and brought to the North Carolina Zoo. Willy is currently away from his usual home and is in Milwaukee while his exhibit in North Carolina is being expanded.

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