Just in time for the impending winter season, a new male polar bear arrived in Buffalo Tuesday.
Officials at the Buffalo Zoo said three polar bears have been switched from different zoos to protect the endangered animals. The three polar bears traveled a combined 1,600 miles to their new homes as part of a long-range conservation effort.
Last week, it was announced that Anana, a female polar bear was going to be leaving Buffalo. She has already arrived safely at the Cincinnati Zoo, where she will eventually be introduced to a male called Little One. Meanwhile, Berit, a female from Cincinnati, was transported to the zoo in Madison, Wisc.
The Buffalo Zoo's newest resident, Sakari, a male from Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisc., will be introduced to the Buffalo Zoo’s Luna.
With low reproduction rates and a declining population, this three-way shuffle was recommended with the hope that it could provide the best chances for reproductive success for all bears involved.
“The Buffalo Zoo is proud to be a part of such a major undertaking,” said Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Dr. Donna Fernandes.
“It is incredibly important that we continue to work together to help save this vulnerable species. By moving these bears to their new homes, it gives each zoo a chance to work towards the conservation of the species,” Fernandes added.
There are fewer then 70 polar bears in human care in North America. If no changes are made over the next 20 years the population is projected to strongly decline.
“These moves are in the best interest for the polar bear population.” said Buffalo Zoo General Curator Malia Somerville.
“Anana, along with daughter Luna, are very important to the polar bear population and it is essential that we give them the opportunity to preserve their species.” Sommerville added.
Anana is one of a small set of females in North America that has given birth in the past five years in human care. She and Luna’s genetics make them prime candidates for the Species Survival Plan project being coordinated by the Buffalo Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo and the zoo in Madison.