The Detroit Zoo will be bringing in a new polar bear to its Arctic Ring of Life.
Tundra, a 29-year-old female, comes from the Indianapolis Zoo, which announced Monday that it will be closing its polar bear exhibit for good.
“The Arctic Ring of Life is an incredible facility for this polar bear to spend the remainder of her golden years,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, said in a statement. “She will receive the best possible care during her time here and enjoy the comforts of this expansive, naturalistic space.”
The Indianapolis Zoo is shutting down its exhibit, which opened in 1988, because it needs updating. “As we constantly look at our asset replacement and repair, the exhibit is due for an upgrade in three to five years,” Judy Palermo, a senior public relations manager for the Indianapolis Zoo, told Crain’s. “For Tundra, our 29-year-old polar bear, that means a relocation. While healthy now, Tundra is older and now is the right time to move her for her best interest.”
Palermo said the zoo explored many different options before deciding the Detroit Zoo had the best facilities for an older bear like Tundra. The Indianapolis Zoo is donating Tundra to the Detroit Zoo free of charge, and will cover all moving expenses.
“Considered one of the leading polar bear facilities in the world, the Detroit Zoo offers large spaces and pools with easy slopes for Tundra to enter and exit the water, especially as she gets older,” Palermo said.
Polar bears usually live about 15-18 years in the wild, but they have longer life spans in captivity due to health care and nutrition provided by the zoo.
The Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life, opened in 2001, is home to two other polar bears: female Talini and male Nuka, both 11 years old. The facility is one of the largest polar bear habitats in North America, encompassing more than 4 acres of outdoor and indoor habitats and public spaces, according to the release.