Nikita, the male polar bear who had been a hit at the Kansas City Zoo since 2010, departed Wednesday for the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.
Keepers of the species survival plan for polar bears hope the 8-year-old bear will mate with a 15-year-old female there named Anana.
“At his new home we are positive he will continue to be a crowd pleaser and be the polar-sized ambassador for conservation,” the Kansas City Zoo said in announcing the bear’s departure.
Berlin, a 26-year-old female polar bear who came to the Kansas City Zoo in 2013, will be the sole occupant of the $11 million polar bear exhibit. Officials had hoped Nikita and Berlin would produce a cub, but it did not happen. Chances are better with a younger female.
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The North Carolina Zoo recently expanded its polar bear exhibit with the goal of breeding the threatened animals.