© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Alaskan polar bear cub arrives in Buffalo

A polar bear cub that was orphaned and rescued by a hunter in Alaska has arrived in Buffalo, where he will have a playmate at The Buffalo Zoo.

Kali, accompanied by a group from The Alaska Zoo, arrived at the Buffalo airport shortly before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday on a UPS flight.

Alaska Zoo director Patrick Lampi said Kali was orphaned when his mother was mistakenly killed by a hunter in March. But that same hunter rescued the cub.

"He followed the tracks back to the den, crawled down inside, found a cub, pulled it out, put it in his coveralls," said Lampi.

Credit The Buffalo Zoo
Kali arrived in Buffalo early Wednesday morning.

The cub will soon be joining Luna, the Zoo's popular female polar bear cub.

Zoo President Donna Fernandes says right now the cubs can see each other, but are separated by a solid barrier. That will be followed by a mesh barrier, and then they will be allowed visual and physical contact.

Fernandes says she expects the acquaintance process could take several weeks.

"With these young animals, I think it should go very smoothly. When you have adult animals it can be more problematic. But I don't think we'll have a problem with these young guys. I think they'll be very excited to have a playmate," Fernandes said.   

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Luna plays in the outside polar bear area at the Buffalo Zoo Wednesday where inside a new polar bear cub from Alaska just arrived

No decision has been made at this time on the cub's permanent home. Kali will be staying in Buffalo at least through this summer. 

The cub is owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who will decide on the cub's final home.

"It is really up to them where them where they want Kali to go," said Fernandes. "We obviously would love to keep him, but that's not under our control."

During a news conference Wednesday at the Zoo, Luna was play full as Zoo leaders and the media gathered. http://youtu.be/NiZrXzNLDSU

The zoo is in the final stages of fundraising for a new $18 million polar bear exhibit called Arctic Edge. So far $15 million has been raised.

Related Content
  • Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Donna Fernandes introduced a three-month-old polar bear cub to the public today. The Zoo's new fundraising campaign 'Our…