The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is excitedly prepping for the arrival of an 18-year-old male polar bear later this fall.
Lee will be introduced to 11-year-old twin sisters, Aurora and Anana, for potential breeding after a brief quarantine period.
Lee will be coming from the Denver Zoo as a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan to maximize the genetic diversity and increase the population sustainability of threatened and endangered species.
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The Columbus Zoo has been successful in its polar bear breeding program with four surviving cubs born since the Zoo’s Polar Frontier region opened in 2010: Nora in 2016, Amelia Gray in 2016 and twins, Neva (female) and Nuniq (male), born on Nov. 14.
“Not only is Lee sure to be beloved within our Central Ohio community, but we know and appreciate that he is an important ambassador for polar bears in their native range. We are proud to soon welcome Lee and continue working toward protecting the future of this threatened species,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf.
The potential birth of cubs in the future is important to the survival of this species, which in 2008 became the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened primarily due to climate change.
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POLAR BEAR NEWS: We are looking forward to welcoming Lee, an 18-year-old male polar bear, who will be arriving from @DenverZoo later this fall. The move was recommended as part of The Association of @Zoos_Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). After completing a mandatory quarantine period upon his arrival, Lee will be introduced to 11-year-old twin sisters, Aurora and Anana, for potential breeding. By moving the weaned polar bear cubs (Amelia Gray, Neva and Nuniq) to other AZA-accredited facilities as per SSP recommendations, this is allowing for the opportunity for Lee to be introduced to Anana and Aurora. Nuniq, who now outweighs his mother, recently moved to the @HenryVilasZoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Amelia Gray and Neva are still at Polar Frontier and guests have a little more time to see them before they move to The @MarylandZoo in Baltimore soon. Photo courtesy of Denver Zoo