The Como Zoo in St. Paul has a new, very big addition to its animal family.

Last month staffers from the Como Zoo made a trip to Chicago's Brookfield Zoo to pick up Nan, a 26-year-old female polar bear and bring her to her new home at Como’s Polar Bear Odyssey habitat.

Nan was found abandoned under a house in Barrow, Alaska, and it was determined that she was too young to survive in the wild on her own, so she was cared for by the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington for 5 years before being moved to the Toledo Zoo where she lived for 16 years.

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Nan will now spend the rest of her days at Como Zoo living with Neil, the zoos only other polar bear. Neil's brother, Buzz, passed away last year, so Nan and Neil, both past breeding age, will provide each other companionship during their senior years.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nan to the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory family,” said Director Michelle Furrer. “Nan is an important ambassador for her threatened species. When people see and learn more about polar bears, it brings awareness of their plight in the wild.”

It is estimated that there are 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears in the wild and by 2050 that number is projected to decline by 30% mainly due to the effects of climate change. The polar bear became the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2008.

Nan was moved to Como after the zoo in Chicago was brining in another female polar for breeding. The moves were based on recommendations by the polar bear Species Survival Plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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