SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – After much anticipation, Utah’s Hogle Zoo is ready to introduce 2-year-old polar bears, Hope and Nora.
The two bears arrived in September and have been spending time getting acquainted with their keepers and their new home.
Nora was born at Columbus Zoo in November 2015. Her mother began leaving her unattended in the den for prolonged periods of time. Keepers made the difficult decision to hand-rear the tiny cub.
She was sent to Oregon Zoo last September, in the hopes she might be mentored by their senior bear. “For a young bear that was hand-raised, the companionship of another bear is so important for developing social skills,” said Amy Cutting, who oversees Oregon Zoo’s marine life area. Sadly, Oregon Zoo lost their senior bear shortly after Nora arrived. Again, Nora was without bear companionship.
Hope, named after Point Hope, Alaska, as well as a nod to the optimism for the future of the endangered species, was born at Toledo Zoo on December 3, 2015. In the wild, young bears separate from their mothers around age two and may band together to survive the harsh conditions in the Arctic.
The hope is that Hope will be a great mentor bear for Nora. They’re only one month apart in age and have the same youthful energy. And so far, it’s going smoothly. Hope is almost 180 pounds heavier than Nora but that did not cause any problems during their first few encounters.
The Hogle Zoo says its animal care staff has been hard at work getting the bears comfortable in their new homes and with each other. Now that the bears are comfortable with their surroundings, the zoo is ready for you to meet them!
Hogle Zoo has a long history of caring for polar bears – offering a home to the species from 1957 – 2003, during which time Hogle Zoo produced 10 offspring. The opening of Rocky Shores, in 2012, saw the much-anticipated return of the polar bear after a nine-year absence. Designed to be a long-term breeding and conservation facility Hogle Zoo hopes to contribute to the study and science of polar bears for years to come.