POWELL, Ohio – He is 1,000 pounds and Polar Bear Species Survival Plan participants, including the animal care professionals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, hope Anana and Aurora will think this cool new dude is a hunka hunka burning love.
Nanuq, a 25-year-old male polar bear, came to the Columbus Zoo on Oct. 16 from the Buffalo Zoo. After a standard quarantine period he has joined the Zoo’s twin female polar bears, Anana and Aurora who will turn six-years-old on Nov. 25, in the award-winning Polar Frontier habitat.
Nanuq was an orphaned cub when he was rescued in Alaska in April of 1988. He lived at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Wisconsin until 2009 when he was moved to the Buffalo Zoo where he sired two litters.
“Polar bears need our help” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Stalf. “In addition to being a leader in critical breeding programs, the Columbus Zoo supports polar bear conservation and has been designated an Arctic Ambassador Center by Polar Bear International.”
Polar bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal. Female polar bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight. Due to delayed implementation the gestation period can range from about 195-265 days. Pregnant female polar bears den up in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. Cubs weigh little more than a pound at birth but grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and eat primarily seals. There is estimated to be 20,000-25,000 polar bears and populations are in decline due to the disappearance of sea ice. Some scientists believe that if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by the year 2050.
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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 575 species from around the globe. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Club. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; contributing more than $1 million annually to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating. For more information and to purchase advance Zoo admission tickets, visit www.columbuszoo.org.