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‘Patches’ the polar bear arrives safely at NC Zoo

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ASHEBORO, N.C. — Patches the polar bear arrived safely at the N.C. Zoo Wednesday evening, but it could be several days before she is on public view.

The 25-year-old female bear arrived via truck from the Erie, Pa. Zoo and was escorted by a N.C. Zoo veterinarian and a senior keeper.



Patches was placed in the zoo’s polar bear holding quarters where keepers will see how she acclimates to her new surroundings before making a decision on when she will be on exhibit.

“The date for reopening the polar bear exhibit to the public is not yet determined and will be considered soon as we monitor how Patches settles into her daily routine,” said Jeff Owen, keeper supervisor for the zoo’s Rocky Coast mammals. He assisted in bringing Patches to Asheboro.

The N.C. Zoo worked for many months with the Polar Bear Species Survival Program (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service to acquire bears for its polar bear habitat.

The habitat has been undergoing an $8.5 million renovation and expansion over the past two years.

Patches was born in 1987 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb. She was moved to the Erie Zoo in December 2007.

The Erie Zoo starting its own major construction project of its own and needed to move Patches to a new home.


  • Max R. Pardon

    Hello Patches welcome to N.C., I hope to see you in the remarkable NCZOO with family and yours if you can have one while staying in the Tarheel State.

  • Jason

    Lets hope things go better for Patches than the last two Polar Bears at the NC Zoo. Seems like they need to get their act together.

  • Jennifer

    I’m with you, Jason, on that sentiment.. Can’t help but wonder how Traumatizing the long trips are to these massive(yet, Delicate) animals.I would imagine injuries sustained in LONG transits could Conceivably come back to haunt them …Far Before Their prime… Praying for THIS Sweetheart!!!

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