Utah’s Hogle Zoo on Tuesday introduced its newest addition to the public.
Neva, a 5-year-old female polar bear from the Maryland Zoo was sent to the Salt Lake facility on recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for polar bears.
According to Kaleigh Jablonski, Rocky Shores animal care supervisor, “Neva is doing well and adjusting slowly to her new home. 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.”
Neva was born on Nov. 14, 2016, to parents Aurora and Nanuq, and according to Mike McClure, general curator at the Maryland Zoo, “we knew that at some point as they matured, they would eventually move to other zoos to continue their growth as adult bears. This will offer opportunities to further enhance their growth and development into fully mature adult bears in new ways.” Neva was recommended to come to Utah’s Hogle Zoo by the Species Survival Plan for polar bears as a potential mate for Nikita.
Since Neva has experience being around a male — she grew up with a brother — Utah animal keepers believe she has the potential to interact well with 15-year-old Nikita who can oftentimes be seen playing with his toys and loves learning new things.
Zoo officials said Neva and Nikita will spend the next several months getting to know each other, though they may never live together. While some polar bears may adjust to one another and live in the same habitat, they are naturally solitary animals.