Oregon Zoo welcomes back Nora the Polar Bear

Oregon
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

PORTLAND, Oreg. — The Oregon Zoo is welcoming back Nora the Polar Bear, who returns after a yearslong stint at Utah’s Hogle Zoo for a few years. With zookeepers put the finishing touches on their Polar Passage habitat, they’re ready to bring Nora home.

Nora was born at the  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, OH in November of 2016. Her mother left her in unattended for extended periods of time, forcing caregivers into the decision to feed her from a bottle until she was old enough to eat on her own.

In 2016, Nora joined the Oregon Zoo’s geriatric polar bear Tasul for a brief stint. She then moved to Utah, where she learned to cohabitate with a female polar bear named Hope who’s in the same age range.

She made a big splash when she arrived here in 2016, and left a big bear-shaped hole in our hearts when she went away the following year. Now, with Polar Passage almost complete, Nora is set to return in March!

Posted by Oregon Zoo on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s marine life, is elated to see Nora make her return.

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“We’re so excited to welcome Nora back,” Cutting said. “She’s kind of like the kid who goes off to college and comes home all grown up. We can’t wait to get reacquainted and introduce her to the new Polar Passage habitat.

“At Hogle, Nora learned more about how to interact with another bear,” Cutting said. “This was so important for her development.”

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Zookeepers have been in contact regarding preexisting health conditions that Nora’s facing. The most pressing of which is that Nora suffered a leg injury in 2019 that she’s still working her way back from. According to the Oregon Zoo’s press release, Nora’s leg healed well, but she has “permanent skeletal structure issues.”

Zoo officials say that another female polar bear will join Nora at the Polar Passage in the fall. For now, Cutting hopes to get Nora reacclimated to life at the Oregon Zoo. The Polar Passage was specifically designed with Nora in mind, so the adjustment shouldn’t be too much of an undertaking for her.

Oregon Zoo officials expect the Polar Passage to open in the Spring.