BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Many people have been flocking to the Buffalo Zoo to see Luna, the baby polar bear. But she's growing up fast and the cute and cuddly cub isn't so little anymore.
At 5-months-old, Luna is now tipping the scales at 70 pounds. Since the cub went on display, the zoo has seen an instant rise in attendance, and it's especially busy on weekends.
Zoo PR Coordinator Rachel Gottlieb said, "We've been seeing between 5,000 to 7,000 people a day, which is really great for us so we're happy to see that."
When Luna was born at the end of November, she weighed just a pound and a half.
Gottlieb said, "She was hand raised by the vet tech and some of the keepers and now she really is so big that they can't really get up and close to her anymore."
Zoo President Donna Fernandes said, "You can't exactly hold her anymore." And though Fernandes says that's kind of sad, she adds, "But everything grows up."
And growing older means more independence for Luna. Just recently, the zoo extended the time she spends outside each day. Vistors can now catch her from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., an hour and a half longer than before.
"Luna is a complete diva. She loves the attention from the public," Gottlieb said. "When she's out here on her exhibit, she gets really excited to see people coming. She'll snoop around and look at who's around and if she sees someone else coming she'll run over to investigate who's coming."
But in order for Luna to stay long-term, the new Artic Edge exhibit at the zoo needs to be built.
Fernandes said, "We are at $15 million of the $18 million [needed] now, so we've raised $1 million since we went public with the campaign. So we have the final $3 million to raise and we hope to break ground in September and then it would open in the spring of 2015."
Luna will soon be getting a playmate from Alaska. On May 14, a zoo veterinarian will travel to Alaska to check on Kali, and if everything's okay, he will arrive shortly after.
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