Luna's mother, Anana, to re-join Luna in Buffalo
Pending the final approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Buffalo Zoo anticipates moving the juvenile polar bear Kali to the Saint Louis Zoo for its new arctic exhibit, "Polar Bear Point."
Kali, the young male cub rescued in Alaska after the death of his mother, came to the Buffalo Zoo in May of 2013 to join Luna, the young female cub born at the Buffalo Zoo in November 2012. In cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the AZA's polar bear species survival plan, it was determined at that time the best placement for the orphan cub would be Buffalo, where both cubs could benefit from the company of another bear during their important developmental period.
"Keeping the bears together for the first two-and-a-half years of their life was important to their social and psychological development, but now they have reached the age where they would be separating from their mothers and siblings if in the wild," Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Donna M. Fernandes said.
"We would like to invite the Western New York community to come to the Buffalo Zoo to say goodbye to Kali and wish him well as he prepares to travel to his new home. Kali is expected to leave Buffalo toward the end of April," she added.
The Buffalo Zoo expects to welcome Luna's mother, Anana, back to Buffalo later in the spring. Anana has spent the past two years at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago on breeding loan.
"While saying goodbye to Kali will be sad to all of us who have grown to love him, we are delighted to be getting back our breeding female and the opportunity for more cubs," Fernandes continued.
The Buffalo Zoo is a pioneer among zoos its size in supporting and expanding the gene pool of a diverse number of wild animals. In fact, the Buffalo Zoo is responsible for 4,710 births among 32 species. Buffalo, Toronto and Toledo are the only North American zoos that successfully reared polar bear cubs in the past five years. In all, the Buffalo Zoo polar bear breeding program has produced 10 cubs since 1985.
Following the departure of Kali, who is now more than 800 pounds, Luna will move to the polar bear holding facility in the Buffalo Zoo's new "Arctic Edge" exhibit.
"We will arrange for a video camera feed so visitors can observe her while she awaits completion of her new outdoor habitat," Fernandes said.
The new $14 million "Arctic Edge" exhibit design specifically accounted for the Buffalo Zoo's track record in breeding polar bears and development of protocols that enhance those efforts. "Arctic Edge" also will contain wolves, bald eagles and Canadian lynx. It is scheduled to open in September.
Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest zoo in the U.S. Each year, the Buffalo Zoo welcomes approximately 450,000 visitors and is the second-largest tourist attraction in Western New York (second only to Niagara Falls). Located on 23.5 acres of Frederick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park, the venue provides interactive and educational family entertainment throughout the year. With a diverse collection of wild and exotic animals and more than 320 different species of plants, visitors are introduced to and engulfed by nature each time they visit.
For more information, visit www.buffalozoo.org.