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Baby polar bear continues to thrive at Buffalo Zoo

BY: Kimberly Snickles, Cheektowaga Source | March 21, 2013

She’s cute, she’s furry, and she’s stealing hearts all over the world.

Luna, Buffalo’s 4-month-old polar bear, continues to thrive as she helps raise awareness for the “Our Bears Belong in Buffalo” campaign.

“The Marine Mammal Act has strict protocol on how we house them, and if we can’t fulfill her needs she will be relocated,” said Caretaker Alice Rohauer. “I’d really like to see her grow up here, since we’ve already put in all this energy. It would just be nice to see her as an adult animal.”

Rohauer has been Luna’s surrogate mother ever since the cub was born, and hasn’t left her side. The caretaker even went above and beyond by caring for the bear in her very own home. Although, Rohauer states Luna can be a handful at times, it is her pleasure to make sure she is healthy and happy.

Currently Luna is staying at the zoo full-time and is getting bigger everyday. She now weighs 36 pounds, and has been gaining about five to eight pounds a week. Her favorite activity is playing in her pool and catching toy fish. Luna also plays outside in the snow, before the zoo opens, so she can get adjusted to the exhibit areas and the terrain.

Luna is not yet on display for the public. But, there is a camera inside her enclosure so that patrons, whom visit the zoo, can see her on television. Rohauer said some zoo-goers will sit and watch Luna on the monitor for hours, even when she is sleeping.

Yet, Luna’s stay at the zoo may be short lived if the zoo does not raise the $18 million dollars it needs to build a new Arctic Edge habitat. The zoo already raised $14 million, but needs $4 million more.

The current exhibit has surpassed its years and no longer meets the necessary requirements to house the bears. That is why the Buffalo Zoo is now reaching out to the public to make a “Polar Pledge” to make sure our polar bears stay in Buffalo.

The new habitat would have two large enclosures for the polar bears and hold up to six bears. There will be underwater viewing, saltwater pools, and all naturalistic settings so it will mimic the bear’s natural habitat. The exhibit would also include Canadian lynx, arctic wolves, and birds of prey.

The Buffalo Zoo is hoping to have the funds by the end of May, so they can stay on track with construction.

“The sooner we can get the building started the better, because there are certain things we have to have in place by the time she gets to be a certain age,” said Public Relations Coordinator, Rachel Gottlieb.

Those whom are interested in making a donation to the Polar Pledge can visit www.buffalozoo.org or mail a donation to Buffalo Zoo Campaign, 300 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214.

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