The polar bear half-sisters will relocate to new zoos.
The Maryland Zoo has shared some bittersweet news: polar bears, Amelia Gray and Neva, will be leaving the zoo. On Monday, the zoo announced they'll be transferring the half-sisters under the guidance of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP) to facilities that will better serve their developmental needs as they reach adulthood.
"After consultation with the leadership of the Polar Bear SSP and other polar bear management experts, we have made the decision to move Neva and Amelia Gray to other zoos to offer them opportunities to further enhance their growth and development into fully mature adult bears in new ways," general curator Mike McClure said in a public statement.
Amelia Gray will join her other half-sister Nora at the Oregon Zoo, while Neva will be paired with an older male bear for breeding, though what zoo she will go to has yet to be confirmed. According to McClure, Amelia's "cautious" temperament will be enhanced by the transition, citing the Oregon Zoo's recently constructed Polar Bear Passage offering the peaceful refuge she craves. Neva, on the other hand, seems well-suited to bonding with another male bear both for breeding and socialization purposes.
Both bears came to the Maryland Zoo in 2018 when they were 2 years old. Their former habitat was at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in Delaware County, Ohio.
As a result of the move, the zoo will be moving grizzly bears, Nova and Nita, into their former habitat. A pact made with Montana Fish & Game ensured the orphaned bears would receive permanent care in their custody, the zoo said.
“We remain committed to the survival of polar bears in the world and to helping to address the challenges that climate change poses to these amazing animals,” said McClure. “For now though, our future plan is to utilize the whole habitat for Nova and Nita as we evaluate our next steps with polar bears."
Are you sad to see the polar bears go? Have any favorite memories of them? Share them in the comments.