The North Carolina Zoo is proud to announce that Anana, its 15-year-old polar bear, will welcome a new opposite-sex companion this winter.
Nikita, an 8-year-old polar bear at the Kansas City Zoo, is relocating to Asheboro in the coming months to be paired with Anana. Nikita’s move comes at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan Program, which manages specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species population.
“This is exciting news for the hundreds of thousands of folks who visit our wonderful zoo each year,” said Governor Pat McCrory, who attended the ribbon cutting of the expanded polar bear exhibit last October. Zoo officials have indicated that Anana is quite thrilled as well.
According to Wayne Lynch, in his fascinating book Bears: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness, polar bears are the largest land predators alive in the world today (with some reaching as much as 1,500 pounds) and scientists estimate there are between 25,000 to 40,000 polar bears on the planet. Less than 20 percent of AZA-accredited zoos have polar bears and only 60 polar bears are on exhibit in the United States. This means that all polar bears in zoos are genetically important for the species. For more information on polar bears, click here.
The pair will live together in a special den at the new exhibit, according to Dr. David Jones, director of the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. It was not clear at press time, however, if officials were planning some sort of nuptial ceremony for the two bears. Calls to the governor’s office for comment were not immediately returned.