Environment
8:18 am
Fri November 22, 2013

N.C. Zoo Receives Polar Bear

After a long truck ride from a zoo in Erie, Pennsylvania,  Patches the polar bear arrived safely at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro on Wednesday

Credit photo courtesy NC Zoo

The 25-year-old female bear was accompanied on the journey from Erie by a North Carolina Zoo veterinarian and a senior keeper, and placed in the polar bear holding quarters. There, keepers will keep an eye on her to see how well she adapts to her new surroundings before making a decision on when she will be placed on exhibit.

Jeff Owen, the keeper supervisor for the zoo's Rocky Coast Mammals, said, "The date for reopening the polar bear exhibit to the public is not yet determined, and will be considered soon, as we monitor how Patches settles into her daily routine."  Owen was part of the team which transferred Patches to the zoo in Asheboro.

The zoo's polar bear habitat has been undergoing an $8.5 million renovation and expansion for the past two years.

Patches was born in November 1987 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, and was transferred to Erie in December of 2007.  The Erie Zoo needed to find a new home for Patches, as a major construction project is getting under way there as well.

A 21-year-old male polar bear named Aquila, died at the North Carolina Zoo in September.  An animal autopsy, known as a necropsy, showed that Aquila died as the result of a ruptured stomach.  Aquila was the last survivor of a set of polar bear triplets born at the Louisville Zoo in November of 1992.