Pending the final approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums [AZA], 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 Polar Bear Species Survival Plan® (SSP) of the AZA, it was determined at that time that 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 2 ½ 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,” said Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Donna M. Fernandes.
“We would like to invite the Western New York community to come to the Buffalo Zoo to say good bye 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.
|This photo of Kali was taken in 2013. Now he weighs over 800 lbs!|
The Buffalo Zoo expects to welcome Luna’s mother, Anana, back to Buffalo later in the spring. Anana has spent the last 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 last 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 Zoo’s track record in breeding polar bears and development of protocols that enhance those efforts. Arctic Edge, will also contain wolves, bald eagles and Canadian lynx, and is scheduled to open in September 2015.