TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - They're not cubs anymore. Suka and Sakari, two of the five polar bears at the Toledo Zoo, are ready to start new lives on their own.
The bears were born at the Zoo in November, 2012, to mother, Crystal, and father, Marty. That year they were two of just three polar bear cubs born at any U.S. zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They were also the only cubs cared for by their mother.
"One of the remarkable opportunities that Toledo Zoo visitors have is the chance to see young animals like these grow up right in front of them," said Dr. Randi Meyerson, the Zoo's assistant director of animal programs. "Very few people ever see polar bear cubs in person during their lifetime, and it's a testament to the excellent care our staff provides to our bears. The Toledo Zoo is nationally known for its reproductive success with polar bears and several other species."
In addition to her role as the Zoo's assistant director of animal programs, Dr. Meyerson coordinates the AZA's Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP) and serves on Polar Bear International's advisory council. During the last 8 years, the Zoo has been home to 6 polar bear cubs which have charmed and delighted the public while raising awareness for the threats these animals face in the wild.
"You make sure you breed and make sure you have bears to go to other appropriate facilities to have them. And they play a very important role in climate change as far as acting as ambassadors and getting people to care about animals up in the Arctic, which is so far away," Dr. Meyerson said.
Suka and Sakari will be moving to the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, MN.
It's still too early to tell if more cubs will be born at the zoo. Dr. Meyerson says she'll just let nature take its course with Crystal and Marty.
"At this point after the cubs leave, breeding season is in the spring," she said. "We don't know with the cubs having been with mom so long if she's cycling yet. They'll have the opportunity. It's up to them."
The bears' moving date has not been finalized but it will be some time early this fall. If you'd like to say goodbye to Suka and Sakari before they leave, Dr. Meyerson says the best viewing time for them is between 10:00AM-3:00PM.
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