SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 31, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s Hogle Zoo has welcomed polar bear Neva to Rocky Shores.
“We go into winter with great excitement for the arrival of 5-year-old female polar bear, Neva,” said a news release from the zoo. “She joins us from Maryland Zoo as a recommendation from the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP) for polar bears.”
Kaleigh Jablonski, Rocky Shores animal care supervisor said: “Neva is doing well and adjusting slowly to her new home. Keepers are working with her through positive reinforcement training to teach her the ins and outs of her new habitat. She’s a very curious bear and we are enjoying getting to know her.”
Born on Nov. 14, 2016 to parents Aurora and Nanuq, Neva was recommended to come to Utah’s Hogle Zoo by the SSP for polar bears as a potential mate for Nikita.
Since Neva has experience being around a male having grown up with a brother, the zoo believes she has the potential to interact well with male polar bear, Nikita.
“A current resident at Rocky Shores, 15 years of age, weighing around 1,200 pounds, and standing on his hind legs at 10.5 feet tall, Nikita can often times be seen playing with his toys and he loves to learn new things,” the news release said. Neva and Nikita will spend the next several months getting to know each other.
“Guests may be able to see Neva or Nikita on exhibit when visiting the zoo. However, we cannot guarantee which polar bear will be visible,” the news release said. “Polar bears often have access to off exhibit spaces to give them choice in their environment. For Neva in particular, this allows her to become comfortable in the exhibit on her own time.”
Typically found along the coasts and sea ice of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia and Norway, polar bears are experiencing a decline in population due to climate change, the news release said. As a result, the disappearance of sea ice in the Artic due to rising temperatures, scientists believe that by 2100 polar bear populations could be drastically eliminated. Through its partnership with Polar Bears International, the zoo supports efforts to ensure the survival and preservation of this critically endangered species. For more information on PBI, click here.