North Carolina Zoo Acquires Another Polar Bear
ASHEBORO, N.C. – The North Carolina Zoo is starting the New Year with an iconic new addition to its animal collection. Last night, Nikita, a 9-year-old male polar bear was safely relocated to Asheboro from the Kansas City (Mo.) Zoo.
Nikita will eventually join the N.C. Zoo’s 16-year old female polar bear Anana on exhibit. First, he will be placed into the Zoo’s polar bear holding quarters so zookeepers can see how he acclimates to his new surroundings before making a decision on when he will be viewable by the public.
Nikita’s move was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan Program, which manages animal populations in zoos.
“We are honored and thrilled that our Zoo was chosen to be Nikita’s new home,” said Pat Simmons, Director of the North Carolina Zoo. “Hopefully, we can breed Anana and Nikita. Our polar bear habitat is designed to maximize the chance of breeding Nikita and Anana. Polar bears tend to breed in the winter, so Nikita’s arrival is perfect timing.”
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.
“We would like to thank the staff at the Kansas City Zoo and the community in Kansas City for making Nikita’s transfer to our Zoo a smooth one. So far Nikita is adjusting well to his new home,” said Ken Reininger, animal curator at the N.C. Zoo.
Nikita was born at the Toledo Zoo. He arrived in Kansas City in 2010 when he was 3 years old. Anana, whose name means "beautiful" in Inuit, was born at the Seneca Park Zoo (Rochester, N.Y.) in November 1999. She arrived at the Lincoln Park Zoo in 2001 and was moved to the North Carolina Zoo in September 2014.
The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Weather pending, the Zoo is open 364 days a year, closed on Christmas, offering 500 acres of exhibits with special events year round. Please visit www.nczoo.org for more information.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources