LOCAL NEWS

Neva is the new polar bear at Hogle Zoo

Dec 31, 2021, 4:40 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm

Utah's Hogle Zoo. (KSL TV)...

Utah's Hogle Zoo. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Hogle Zoo closed out 2021 with a new addition, ideal for the winter weather that prevails.

Neva, a 5-year-old female polar bear from the Maryland Zoo, has been moved to Utah by recommendation from the AZA Species Survival Plan.

“Neva is doing well and adjusting slowly to her new home,” said Kaleigh Jablonski, supervisor of Rocky Shores Animal Care. “Keepers are working with her through positive reinforcement training to teach her the ins and outs of her new habitat. She’s a very curious bear and we are enjoying getting to know her.”

Born Nov. 24, 2016 to parents Aurora and Nanno, Neva is considered a potential mate for Nikita at Hogle Zoo.

“We knew that at some point as they matured, they would eventually move to other zoos to continue their growth as adult bears,” said Mike McClure, general curator at the Maryland Zoo. “This will offer opportunities to further enhance their growth and development into fully mature adult bears in new ways.”

At her new home in the Rocky Shores exhibit, Neva will spend the next few month getting to know Nikita. Although polar bears are naturally solitary animals and it is possible the pair may never live together, it is hoped they will adjust to being in the same habitat. Nikita, a 15-year-old male who enjoys playing with his toys and learning new things, is a sizable partner — weighing 1,200 pounds and standing 10.5-feet tall on his hind legs. Neva is deemed capable of interacting with a male polar bear, having been around a grown-up older brother in Maryland.

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Neva is the new polar bear at Hogle Zoo