CHICAGO, Illinois, April 6, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s Hogle Zoo has provided an update on polar bear Hope after she arrived at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo in January.
The Chicago zoo reopened March 1, and guests are now able to see the 5-year-old bear in one of the outdoor habitats at Great Bear Wilderness.
“Hope will eventually be introduced to Hudson, Brookfield Zoo’s 14-year-old male polar bear,” said a late February news release. “The introduction is expected to take place over several weeks. It is anticipated the two bears will be together by mid-March.”
It now appears that that introduction went very well.
A news release from Hogle Zoo Tuesday says: “As most of you know Hope safely arrived at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and since has been acclimating very well to her new surroundings, including her new friend Hudson!”
A statement from Brookfield Zoo’s team says: “We are happy to see that the introduction between Hudson and Hope is going well. While the two bears are getting to know each other, guests may see them engaged in a variety of normal behaviors, including open-mouth displays, roaring, chuffing (a rapid jaw movement), and one bear following the other. It’s also a positive sign that we have seen them eating together and sleeping close within sight of one other.”
Born at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Hope’s transfer to Brookfield Zoo was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, a previous news release said. An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
Polar bears are currently listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the news release said. The main threat of the species’ decline is due to reduced access to their main source of food — seal — due to climate change melting the sea ice and other environmental factors. According to researchers, there are approximately 23,000 to 26,000 polar bears living worldwide today, including in and around Canada, Russia, and east Greenland.
Moving into Hope’s former enclosure will be a male polar bear twice her size named Nikita. Zoo guests should get a first look at Nikita in the early spring.
“For Hogle Zoo guests, we’re putting the finishing touches on the upgrades for Nikita’s exhibit, and he should make his Hogle Zoo debut sometime in the next couple weeks!” said the Tuesday news release.