April 14, 2009

Chicago bear brought to Detroit to mate

A male polar bear has been brought from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago to mate with two females at the Detroit Zoo.

The matchmaking was done by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, WDIV-TV, Detroit, reported. The program tries to maximize the genetic diversity of polar bears and other threatened and endangered species.

Lee, the 9-year-old 900-pound male from Chicago, joins Barle, 24, Talini, 4, and and three males, twins Neil and Buzz, both 12, and Norton, 21, in the Arctic Ring of Life. The exhibit includes a 70-foot clear glass passage that allows visitors to watch polar bears and seals swimming around them as they walk through the tunnel.

Polar bears are listed as vulnerable on the international Red List and were recently classified as endangered by the United States. While thousands of polar bears live in the Arctic, they are considered at risk to global warming because their hunting depends on the sea ice.