'Berlin' is on exhibit with 'Nikita' in Kansas CityA major development occurred this morning in the introduction between Berlin, the Lake Superior Zoo’s female polar bear on loan to the Kansas City Zoo and Nikita, a male polar bear.
A major development occurred this morning in the highly anticipated introduction between Berlin, the Lake Superior Zoo’s female polar bear on loan to the Kansas City Zoo and Nikita, a male polar bear. This morning, under the careful watch of their keepers and veterinarian, they finally met “nose to nose and paw to paw” in their exhibit, according to a release from the Lake Superior Zoo.
Berlin and Nikita can be viewed on the Nikita Polar Bear Cam at http://www.kansascityzoo.org/.
“This was a very smooth introduction process for the bears,” said Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations for the Lake Superior Zoo. “The Kansas City staff were convinced that the two were ready for their on-exhibit introduction. It’s a great day, once again, for both zoos. It’s also a great day for polar bears.”
The number of captive polar bears in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited institutions is 68. Of those, only 35 are capable of breeding. Berlin is one of 21 females within the optimal breeding age.
The introduction is part ofa breeding recommendation made by the AZA’s polar bear species survival plan (SSP). Berlin was paired with Nikita at Kansas City with the hope that they will produce offspring. Having a viable captive population is important because polar bears in the wild are a threatened species.
Berlin was re-located to the Como zoo following a devastating June flood at the Lake Superior Zoo and was transferred to Kansas City in late December, 2012.