Maryland Zoo to swap Anoki the polar bear for two cubs

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore will be trading its only polar bear for two cubs in the fall.

Twenty-three-year old Anoki, who settled in Baltimore in 2009 and has since become a crowd favorite, will be moving on to an unnamed zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In her stead, the zoo here will be getting two female cubs from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

The moves have been recommended by the association’s Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.

“We are tremendously fond of Anoki here at the Zoo, so this is bittersweet for us,” Maryland Zoo president/CEO Don Hutchinson said in a statement.

Added Erin Cantwell, the zoo’s mammal collection and conservation manager, “Anoki will be missed, but we are confident she will be well cared for in her new home.”

Relocating to Baltimore will be two half-sister cubs, Neva and Amelia Gray, both born in November 2016.

“We do not know when Neva and Amelia Gray will make their first public appearance at The Maryland Zoo,” Cantwell said in the statement. “After they arrive, they will be in mandatory quarantine while they are introduced to their new home and new animal care team.”

Zoo officials have traveled to Ohio to meet the bears, and Columbus Zoo officlals will be coming east to help with the transition. Moving dates have yet to be set.

Updates on Anoki’s departure and the arrival of Neva and Amelia Gray will be posted to the zoo’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as its website, marylandzoo.org.

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