Elephants and polar bears don’t really have an occasion to meet outside of a zoo, but the wide range of ecological simulations present in modern zoos make it possible for elephants and polar bears to peacefully coexist- in their own enclosures, of course.
Every species of animal in the zoo has their own climate controlled environment created just for them, and now those climate control systems are working together to make sure the critters are comfortable and the zoo doesn't go broke from paying the electric bill.
The Oregon Zoo is using an innovative new heating system that utilizes an underground geothermal loop they call a "slinky" to send the excess heat generated by the cooling system in the polar bear's simulated arctic environment to help heat the Asian Elephants enclosure.
Here's how it works:
Excess heat from the zoo's polar bear exhibit will be absorbed by the fluid inside a coil of pipes ending underneath the 32,000-square-foot Forest Hall, where Asian elephants are housed in an indoor "forest." This, along with a few other energy tweaks, are supposed to cut Forest Hall's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent.