Toronto polar bear cub 'Hudson' moving to Winnipeg zoo
Polar bear cub 'Hudson' is shown at the Toronto Zoo in a photo taken February 3, 2012. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:55PM EST
A one-year-old polar bear cub is moving from the Toronto Zoo to a state-of-the-art facility in Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, officials announced Thursday.
The Toronto Zoo is inviting visitors to come say farewell to the 410-pound cub before he is removed from exhibit on Jan. 27 in preparation for his journey westward.
Officials say Hudson, who was born on Oct. 11, 2011, has surpassed many milestones in his first year of life. The cub was rejected shortly after birth by his mother Aurora, one of the Toronto Zoo’s two female polar bears. Zoo staff stepped in to rescue and then care for him.
The move to Winnipeg is the next step in Hudson’s life to becoming a mature male polar bear, officials say. The hope is he will be paired with a female so they may contribute to the Species Survival Plan breeding program.
Hudson will be the first polar bear to inhabit the recently completed International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park Zoo. He will then move to the 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit, which is currently under construction.
“This is very exciting for all of us here at the Assiniboine Park Zoo and we can’t wait to welcome Hudson into our zoo family,” Tim Sinclair-Smith, director of Zoological Operations, said in a statement. “His arrival marks a significant step in our polar bear program and conservation efforts as we move closer to the opening of the Journey to Churchill in 2014.”
The Toronto Zoo, meanwhile, says it will continue on with its own polar bear breeding program by pairing male Inukshuk with sisters Aurora and Nikita.
Polar bears are a critically endangered species. It is estimated there are only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears in the wild. Approximately 60 per cent of those are living in Canada.
Hudson will be moved to Winnipeg the week of Jan. 28.