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New polar bear coming to NC Zoo this month

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Patches, the new polar bear arrives at the N.C. Zoo in Asheboro.

patchesASHEBORO, N.C. — The N.C. Zoo will welcome a new polar bear this month.

“Patches,” a 25-year-old female bear, will be transferred from the Erie (Pa.) Zoo to Asheboro later this month.

The announcement was made at Wednesday’s N.C. Zoological Park Council meeting.

The N.C. Zoo has been working with the Polar Bear Species Survival Program (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service for some time to acquire bears for its polar bear habitat which has been undergoing an $8.5 million renovation and expansion over the past two years. Federal permits for the transfer of Patches to North Carolina were obtained today.

Born in November 1987 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, Patches was moved to the Erie Zoo in December 2007. The Erie Zoo is about to embark on its own major construction project and needed to move Patches to a new home.

“The N.C. Zoo was selected by the SSP as the best option available, because of the quality of our polar bear facilities and the opportunities that it provides, not only for Patches but, hopefully, other polar bears as well,” said Dr. Adrian Fowler, N.C. Zoo Curator of Mammals.

“Our zoo will be providing assistance to the Erie Zoo in moving Patches to her new home,” Fowler added. “This is a complex task that requires a lot of planning and we expect her to arrive at the zoo in late November.”

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.