Saturday, May 25, 2013
Polar Bear Cub Bound For New Home In Kentucky
After spending more than two months at the Alaska Zoo, the polar bear cub Qannik is headed to her new permanent home in Kentucky.
An Alaskan baby polar bear that has been staying at the Alaska Zoo is en route to her new home in Louisville, Kentucky.
This morning five-month-old Qannik, Inupiat for “snowflake,” was put on a UPS 747 cargo jet headed to the Louisville Zoo, where her new permanent home will be. The zoo recently built a new state of the art polar bear exhibit.
The baby polar bear was found back in April near the North Slope, where oilfield workers believe she was abandoned. She had been living temporarily at the Alaska Zoo, while zookeepers nursed her back to health to prepare her for a transition.
“We’re all pretty sad and excited-it’s exciting for her to go on her next leg of her life,” said Patrick Lampi, director of the Alaska Zoo.
The Alaska Zoo has been working with Louisville officials for weeks to make sure the transition goes smoothly.
“Each step of the process has been thought about and backups and contingency plans,” said Lampi.
About a dozen zoo officials are on board with the baby polar in case there is an emergency; the bear will be awake during the entire trip. This is the first time in almost a decade that an Alaskan polar bear has been transported to another zoo in the lower 48, and the director of the Louisville Zoo, John Walczak, says she will be an ambassador for the Arctic.
“It’s a very important story to tell. Our exhibit was built to talk about how human beings impact this planet and what we could all do to make a difference,” said Walczak.
Her new living conditions are expected to resemble Alaska’s climate. The plane is expected to land at 9 p.m. tonight.