Henry Vilas Zoo’s male polar bear to leave for Kansas City Zoo next week

2-year-old polar bear explores new home in Henry Vilas Zoo
Nuniq, photo by Henry Vilas Zoo

MADISON, Wis. — The Henry Vilas Zoo’s male polar bear is moving to the Kansas City Zoo later this month.

The zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Polar Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), which oversees population management for many endangered species. The SSP recommended that Nuniq be transferred to the Kansas City Zoo where he’ll join Berlin, a 31-year-old female polar bear.

Nuniq, who turns 4-years-old in November, first arrived at Henry Vilas Zoo in 2018. He was one of the cubs born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2016.

“Nuniq truly is an ambassador for his species,” said Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz. “We are obviously going to miss him, but we know this move is what is best for him. Our main priority has always been to do what is right for our animals.”

When Nuniq leaves the zoo, he’ll be replaced by Borealis, a 2-year-old polar bear. Borealis, or “Bo” for short, is coming to Madison from the Toledo Zoo.

Guests can visit Nuniq at the Henry Vilas Zoo until Oct. 12. The zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guests are required to wear a face mask.