St. Louis Zoo awaiting OK for Kali the polar bear's transfer

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(ST. LOUIS, AP) — The St. Louis Zoo is putting the finishing touches on its new Arctic exhibit while it awaits the federal government to greenlight the transfer of an orphaned Alaskan polar bear from the Buffalo Zoo in New York.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1CSIgXe) reports that construction is nearly finished on the zoo’s new 40,000-square-foot, $16 million polar bear habitat. It’s expected to be the new home of Kali the polar bear, but the zoo is still waiting for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to approve his move.
If the move is approved, Kali will be the first polar bear in St. Louis in more than five years. Only two orphaned polar bears have made their way to U.S. zoos in the last decade.
“It’s been a long process,” said Steve Bircher, carnivore curator at the St. Louis Zoo. “We’re now getting down to the wire.”
Kali was recovered by a hunter after he shot and killed Kali’s mother more than two years ago. The hunter, realizing the mother bear was nursing, followed tracks to her den and found the 18-pound Kali inside.
Lisa Lierheimer, a policy specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is waiting on answers about certain questions from the two zoos and a federal facility inspection of the zoo’s Polar Bear Point.
Polar Bear Point, which is designed to be a breeding facility, could house up to five bears and has five off-view rooms including two swimming pools.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com