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Polar bear Kali to stay in Buffalo until spring 2015

Ashley Hirtzel

Polar bear cub Kali will stay in Buffalo until spring of 2015. Tuesday, Senator Charles Schumer announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to keeping the bear in the city pending a health inspection this spring.

The 10-month-old Kali is one of two polar bear cubs that came to the zoo back in May, shortly after the arrival of the zoo's other cub, Luna. Kali was orphaned when his mother was mistakenly killed by a hunter. The same hunter then rescued the cub.

Recently, Kali's future in Buffalo was uncertain as there were offers for the cub to move to other zoos across the country.

But, Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandes says Kali’s traumatic rescue made it crucial to keep him in the city.

“It’s always in the best interest to try and provide a stable environment for the bear. He’s well adjusted to our keepers and particularly to Luna, so it’s much better for his development to not have another move,” said Fernandes.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News
Kali and Luna.

Senator Schumer says keeping the cubs together will also help breed them in the future.

“That will be an argument that I will use [to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] in 2015 to try and extend Kali’s stay here. When they grow up together it’s easier for them to breed and polar bears are an endangered species,” said Schumer.

Schumer says keeping Kali in Buffalo is good news for him and everyone involved.

Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of the Governor Cuomo’s pledge of $750,000 to help build a state-of-the-art habitat at the Buffalo Zoo. Senator Schumer says he hopes the new “Arctic Edge” exhibit slated to open spring of 2015 is also expected to increase the chances of Kali staying in the city long-term.