TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In efforts to better the captive population of polar bears, the Toledo Zoo along with the Association of Zoos (AZA) and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP) have to decided move Hope the polar bear to Utah's Hogle Zoo.
Hope has lived at the Toledo Zoo since she was born in December 2015, making her the seventh polar bear cub born in Toledo since 2006.
"In her almost two years, Hope has been a great ambassador for her endangered species and become much beloved by the Toledo Zoo community," said Shayla Bell Moriarty, Toledo Zoo's director of communication. "While we appreciate our guests' emotional bonds to our animals, we aim to educate our supporters about the mission and processes of Species Survival Plans to aid in understanding that moves like this help to ensure a bright future for all polar bears."
The SSP recommended that Nora, a Columbus-born female polar bear, should join Hope at Hogle Zoo.
"It is important for Nora, who was hand-reared to interact with other polar bears and Hope was chosen as they are about the same age and can develop and grow together. It really is the perfect pairing for both the animals and the future of the AZA polar bear collection," said Dr. Randi Meyerson, Polar Bear SSP coordinator and Toledo Zoo's assistant director of animal programs.
Hope will remain at the Toledo Zoo where she stay with her mom Crystal throughout the summer until Labor Day. When Hope leaves, another polar will return, Hope's dad Marty.
Marty has been off exhibit since Hope's birth because male polar bears are actually a danger to their cubs.
"Because Hope is with her mom, we don't have Marty in there too, so when Hope leaves, Marty and Crystal will get to be back together again," said Dr, Randi Meyerson, assistant director of Animal Programs.
As sad as it is to have Hope the polar bear leaving, Dr. Meyerson said the major hope is to inspire more animal lovers to do their part.
"People in Toledo, if they're inspired, they can recycle more and buy recycled products, that's really important too and decrease their carbon footprint in Toledo and actually have effect on the ice that's up in the Arctic," said Meyerson.
More information about Hope and tickets for the Toledo Zoo can be found here.