KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Berlin the polar bear made her Kansas City debut on Thursday.
She had been quarantined for the past 30 days, stuck in a back room while zoo officials made sure she was healthy. On Thursday, she will emerge from her pen for the first time and saw her new home.
Berlin is on loan from a zoo in Minnesota, where she lived with two male polar bears.
That experience should serve her well as she shares this home with Nikita. Nikita has lived the bachelor life since leaving his mother.
Photos: Berlin Says Hello to Kansas City
There is quite an age difference between the two. Nikita is 6. Berlin is 23. But there is hope the two will breed and produce a baby.
Polar bears are a threatened animal and with only a few fertile females in captivity, polar bear advocates are trying to pair up bears to increase the population.
Nikita will not meet Berlin on Thursday. Instead, they will let Berlin explore her new home on her own, and she will split time with Nikita. It’s a process, and they want to give the bears plenty of time to get to know each other through smells and sounds before they actual meet face to face.
Zoo officials said the goal is to have them meet sometime before or on Valentine’s Day, though there is no set timetable. They want to make sure these bears get along and hopefully, fall in love.