The Buffalo Zoo announced polar bears Luna and Sakari will go on their first official date this Saturday, Feb. 11.
In honor of Valentine's Day weekend - when many humans will celebrate - the Buffalo Zoo polar bear keepers have planned a first date for Luna and Sakari. Although the two bears have been together for a couple weeks now (as part of the introduction process), this special first date will consist of "love-themed" snacks, keeper talks and special enrichment throughout the day.
"The two bears went through preliminary introductions, and we were pleased with the results," said general curator Malia Somerville. "Animal intros can be tricky at times, especially when you're dealing with large animals. However, our keepers felt confident that Luna and Sakari were ready to meet and, since then, everything has been going really well. They have become very fond of each other, and can often be seen playing and swimming together."
As announced in late November, the Buffalo Zoo welcomed Sakari, from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. After successfully settling into his new home, Sakari made his public debut on Jan. 1, to kick off the new year.
Sakari, 4, came to the Buffalo Zoo as part of a three-bear transfer recommendation by the AZA's Species Survival Plan, in continuous efforts to preserve this vulnerable species. With the introduction of Luna and Sakari, the Buffalo Zoo staff said it hopes the bears will mate in the future. Both bears can be seen in the Garman Family Arctic Edge presented by Tops Friendly Markets.
This unique event is part of the Buffalo Zoo's larger "Arctic Awareness Month" taking place throughout February. The Buffalo Zoo is featuring its arctic animals on social media as well as at the zoo itself. The messaging will feature interesting facts as well as conservations tips on how one can help protect these animals.
Zoo guests are reminded that admission is $5 every day through the end of February as part of the "Polar Bear Days" winter promotion.
The Buffalo Zoo is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. year-round at 300 Parkside Ave. For more information about Luna and Sakari's first date or "Arctic Awareness Month," visit www.buffalozoo.org.