Columbus Zoo Preparing To Say ‘Goodbye’ To Beloved Nora The Polar Bear

The Columbus Zoo announced it will be relocating Nora the polar bear cub soon to her new home at the Oregon Zoo. The news came as a surprise to Nora’s many fans as they’ve watched the polar bear grow from a tiny newborn to present, thanks to the Columbus Zoo’s highly active social media accounts.

Nora will be joining another female polar bear named Tasul at the Oregon Zoo, according to local newspaper The Oregonian. Tasul has been the only polar bear at the Oregon Zoo since her brother Conrad had to be euthanized last month due to a liver tumor. Zookeepers are hopeful that Nora will thrive in her transition from Columbus and bring her fellow polar bear some much needed companionship.

In a Facebook post, the Columbus Zoo gave an additional explanation to Nora’s move, and it actually has to do with more polar bear cubs. According to Columbus Zoo staff, adult female polar bears Aurora and Anana have been seen breeding with Nanuq, the male polar bear. Zookeepers feel it is imperative for the polar bears to have a calm, quiet environment in order to have success in getting pregnant with future cubs and due to Nora’s popularity with the public, they felt her move to another zoo would create a better environment for fertility.

The Columbus Zoo has hand raised the little polar bear cub since she was abandoned by her mother at a week old. Born in November, Nora has thrived under the care of zookeepers, growing from less than a pound to more than 150 pounds over the past nine months. Spectators became fascinated with the bear cub as the Columbus Zoo frequently shared videos documenting her care and growth. In fact, the zoo’s inclusion of the public in little Nora’s life was how the polar bear cub got her name when the zoo put it to a public vote.

Those who have taken care of Nora are undoubtedly heartbroken to see her go, but the Columbus Zoo President and CEO Tom Stalf seems to think the polar bear cub’s departure is bittersweet, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

“To think back to that first week of (Nora’s) life, when there was such a high chance that she would not survive, we cannot be anything but happy to see her grow into the strong, playful and intelligent bear she has become,” Stalf told reporters.

Still, despite the joy in knowing that Nora has developed into a strong, healthy polar bear, Columbus Zoo visitors might feel they’ve been gypped when it comes to seeing Nora in person. As previously reported by Inquisitr, the young polar bear only made her live debut to the public in April of this year. Visitors to the Columbus Zoo only had a short window of opportunity to try to get a glance of Nora, as the polar bear was gradually introduced to the outside world for only an hour a day.

According to comments on the Columbus Zoo’s Facebook post announcing Nora’s departure, it seems that the polar bear is still only visible about an hour and a half a day. With the last chance to see Nora in Columbus being September 5, locals who may have been waiting for the polar bear to be out more frequently seem to be falling out of luck.

Others expressed concern over Nora’s health and well-being as the young polar bear transitions from one zoo to another. Zookeepers have assured Nora’s fans they will make the move as easy as possible. Oregon Zoo team members will actually travel to Columbus to spend time with Nora before moving her, and her Columbus care team will travel with her to Oregon. Though no date has been announced on when the great polar bear zoo migration will take place, experts are estimating Nora will make it to Oregon mid-October.

[Photo by Carmen Jaspersen/AP Images]