BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Zoo is pleased to welcome Nanuq, a 21-year-old polarbear, who arrived from the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsinlate Friday night. Zoo officials report that Nanuq is adjustingwell to his new surroundings.
The transfer was recommended by the Association of Zoos andAquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is designed tohelp species maintain healthy and stable populations in captivity.Nanuq was born in the wild and rescued by the U.S. Fish andWildlife Service (USFWS) as an orphaned cub. He was later brought,along with his twin brother, to the Wisconsin facility, where hehas lived for the past 21 years. His genes are considered to bevery valuable to the captive population. While Nanuq has neversired any cubs, despite being housed with a female at the HenryVilas Zoo, it is hoped that Nanuq and Anana, the Buffalo Zoo'seight-year-old female, will be successful at introducing his genesinto the U.S. captive population.
The decision to transfer Nanuq was made after the BuffaloZoo's veterinarian, Dr. Kurt Volle, traveled to the Henry Vilas Zooto examine him. Since Nanuq is an older bear (the average age atdeath is 18), Zoo officials wanted to ensure that he was in goodhealth for the transfer.
A professional animal transporter moved Nanuq to Buffalo in atruck. Staff from the Buffalo Zoo and Henry Vilas Zoo workedtogether to help load him safely. The Buffalo Zoo's veterinarianand primary polar bear keeper accompanied the truck, which maderegular stops during the 12-hour drive to monitor his condition.
Eighteen months ago, the Buffalo Zoo fell under scrutinybecause four polar bears housed at the Zoo died of natural causesover a span of 16 months. The causes of death were verified bynecropsies and independent pathology reports from a lab inWashington state.
Following a thorough investigation by the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture's (USDA) Investigative and EnforcementServices, the Zoo was cleared of any wrongdoing. "We are pleasedthat Nanuq's transfer went smoothly, and we are delighted to soonintroduce him to our female, Anana, so they can hopefully helpsecure their species' future," said Buffalo Zoo President/CEO, Dr.Donna M. Fernandes.
The Buffalo Zoo's polar bear breeding program has been verysuccessful in the past. It was put on hold by the SSP for the last10 years because of the abundance of the Buffalo Zoo's offspring inthe captive population. Polar bears only breed every three years,and between 1977 and 1997, 11 cubs were produced at the Buffalofacility.
As per standard regulations regarding new animal arrivals,Nanuq is currently in quarantine. Visitors will be able to view himsometime later this year.
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