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Rescued Alaska Cub Now 850 Pounds and Living at the Saint Louis Zoo


May 11, 2015
Monday PM

(SitNews) - A 2 ½-year-old, 850-pound male polar bear that was orphaned in Alaska as a cub, is now resting comfortably in the Saint Louis Zoo's new McDonnell Polar Bear Point exhibit, which is set to open June 6. In March 2013, the orphaned bear Kali (pronounced "Cully") was turned over to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service by an Alaskan hunter who unknowingly killed Kali's mother in a subsistence hunt.

jpg Rescued Alaska Cub Now 850 Pounds and Living at the Saint Louis Zoo

Polar bear "Kali" at Buffalo Zoo on April 30, 2015.
Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Brown, Buffalo Zoo

On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service received word that a female polar bear had been shot near Point Lay, Alaska. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management in Barrow, Alaska. After the cub was examined and observed to be in good condition, the Service asked the Alaska Zoo to temporarily care for it. Alaska Airlines flew the cub to Anchorage where it was met by Service and Alaska Zoo staff.

jpg Kali, when he was just a cub.

Kali, when he was just a cub.
Photo Credit: John Gomes, Alaska Zoo
Courtesy USFW Service

Kali, the polar bear cub rescued in March from the Point Lay area of Alaska, left the Alaska Zoo on May 14, 2013, arriving at New York’s Buffalo Zoo on May 15. Kali (pronounced Cully, the Inupiat name for Point Lay), was a 65-pound cub when he was transferred to the Buffalo Zoo. Dubbed “Operation Kali,” Kali’s trip from Anchorage to Buffalo was arranged and funded by M&T Bank, one of the Buffalo Zoo’s long-standing corporate sponsors. Kali join a young female cub Luna so both cubs would benefit from each other’s company. While under the care of the Alaska Zoo staff, Kali had more than tripled in size and weight.

Kali's lived at the Buffalo Zoo since May 2013 and was transported on May 5th from Rochester, New York, to St. Louis. Kali's transportation was donated by FedEx. The Saint Louis Zoo's veterinarian and animal care staff accompanied him on the day-long journey, which included a FedEx Express flight from Rochester to Memphis, and a temperature-controlled truck transport via FedEx Custom Critical from Memphis to St. Louis.

Kali will make his public debut when the exhibit opens on June 6, after a 30-day quarantine period. Quarantine is a standard procedure for animals that have been transferred from other zoos to allow them to acclimate to their new home and diet, and most importantly to prevent the introduction of pathogens among animals in the care of conservation organizations.

"Kali arrived safe and sound and is adjusting nicely to his new surroundings," said Saint Louis Zoo Curator of Carnivores Steve Bircher.

Kali's new 40,000-square-foot home will offer visitors a 22-foot viewing window, where the bear can come right up to the glass to greet guests. The sea water area features a 1,000-square-foot Arctic room with a four-panel viewing wall.

"We are extremely grateful to FedEx for their generosity in transporting Kali with such care and attention to his well-being," said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D, president and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "Their professionalism and top-notch service were exemplary."

"FedEx is committed to the conservation of at-risk animal populations, and we're proud to have played a part in Kali's journey," said Neil Gibson, vice president FedEx corporate communications. "We applaud the work of the Saint Louis Zoo and wish Kali a bright and happy future in his new home."

USFWS determined that St. Louis would be the bear's permanent home, working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

St. Louis Zoo


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