New polar bear joins NC Zoo


ASHEBORO, NC (WWAY) — The recent arrival of winter may be tough on some people, but for one new North Carolina resident, it’s just about right, and may get him in the mood for love.

The North Carolina Zoo has added a new polar bear to its collection. Last night, Nikita, a 9-year-old male, arrived in Asheboro from the Kansas City Zoo in Missouri.

The NC Zoo says Nikita will eventually join 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.

9-year-old Nikita joined the NC Zoo in Asheboro on Jan. 6, 2015. (Photo: NC Zoo)

9-year-old Nikita joined the NC Zoo in Asheboro on Jan. 6, 2015. (Photo: NC Zoo)

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,” NC Zoo Director Pat Simmons said in a news release. “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.”

Nikita was born at Ohio’s 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 in Rochester, NY, in November 1999. She arrived at the North Carolina Zoo in September 2014 after spending 13 years at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

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