NC Zoo Welcomes New Male Polar Bear in Hopes of Repopulation

In Do, March 2021 by Olivia GwynLeave a Comment

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What’s not polarizing? There’s a new male in town. And he’s (hopefully) ready to chill out with his new boo bear.

Around Valentine’s Day, the North Carolina Zoo welcomed large-and-in-charge (and incredibly cute!) Payton in the hopes of mating him with Anana, our state zoo’s resident female polar bear. But will she swipe right?

Transferred from the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee, Payton is replacing his nonproducing predecessor Nikita (who struck out with Anana for five breeding seasons). His relocation comes on the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan as part of a polar bear repopulation effort. (Polar bears were the first species listed as threatened by climate change under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—the more you know.)

“Polar bear populations are declining, and zoos have a significant role in protecting the future of this vulnerable species,” says Jennifer Ireland, curator of mammals for the NC Zoo.

Since spring is the season of love for polar bears (their mating season runs from February through March), hopefully Payton will get lucky and help save the population—and, if nothing else, at least maybe now Anana won’t be so ice-solated.

As for your part, take the polar bear plunge, so to speak, and go give Payton a warm welcome… in the name of love—and cubs!

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