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Hogle Zoo to welcome new polar bear

Nikita Polar Bear.jpg
Posted at 12:12 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 14:25:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo is getting set to welcome a new member to the family.

The zoo announced Friday that Nikita, or "Nik," is headed to Utah from North Carolina and will soon make his debut.

A 15-year-old male polar bear, Nikita weighs over 1,200 pounds and stands over 10-feet tall.

"Nikita is a big and loveable goofball,” said Nicole Pepo, who worked with Nikita in North Carolina. “He enjoys playing with toys (sometimes he breaks them), taking naps in the sun and rolling in the dirt. He’s a very intelligent boy and loves to learn new things. He also isn’t shy about telling his keepers what treat he likes with huffs and head-bobs.”

Before Nikita can greet guests at his new home, he'll have to quarantine for 30 days so doctors can give him a check up and make sure he's in perfect health.

Once quarantine is over, Nikita should be able to be seen by zoo visitors in early spring.

With Nikita's arrival, Hogle Zoo will say goodbye to Nora, a five-year-old polar bear who will head to a breeding program at the end of January. Hogle Zoo says they work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, along with the Species Survival Plan to make ensure a genetically diverse population of animals.