The Kansas City Zoo once again has two polar bears on exhibit.
Bam Bam, as the 30-year-old female is called, has finished her period of precautionary quarantine and joined Berlin in the zoo's $11 million exhibit that opened in 2010.
Berlin, a 28-year-old female, has had the place to herself since a male named Nikita was sent away in 2015. Berlin came to Kansas City from a zoo in Duluth, Minn.
Bam Bam was assigned to Kansas City by the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan, a protocol among North American zoos intended to maximize genetic diversity in the captive population. Because Nikita and Berlin did not successfully mate, the male was reassigned to the North Carolina Zoo for breeding. Both of the females here are too old for breeding.
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Bam Bam was born at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha and lived there until she was moved. She was the last polar bear at the Omaha zoo as officials there work on a new bear exhibit.
"She has been carefully introduced to Berlin through what we call a 'howdy,' where the two bears are allowed to first smell and then see each other before they are given physical contact with one another," the zoo said in an announcement.
The Kansas City bear exhibit is 18,000 square feet and has a 140,000-gallon pool chilled to 65 degrees. Visitors can observe the bears when they go underwater.