Changing Planet

Cool bears arrive at Columbus Zoo’s new polar exhibit

Twin polar bears, Aurora and Anana, arrived today at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. The three-year-old females are the first residents of Polar Frontier, a U.S.$ 20 million exhibit opening at the zoo this spring.


Photo by Paul Selvaggio of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

The bears were born at the Toledo Zoo on November 25, 2006. They have been living at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium since December 2008.

The name “Aurora” is in reference to the northern polar lights and “Anana” is an Inuit word meaning “pretty,” the zoo said in the caption released with this photo.

“The residents of central Ohio spoke and we listened,” said executive director Dale Schmidt. “It’s been more than 20 years since polar bears were at the Columbus Zoo and they are back by popular demand.”

The bear’s new home includes a 1.32-acre yard with two pools, smell ports, dig pits and shelters. A 167,000-gallon pool will allow visitors to view the bears from above, at eye-level, and below. The other pool is a surge pool with a tidal effect, providing enrichment with various depths and moving water.

An interpretive center focusing on polar bears and climate change will also provide guests information on ways to practice conservation at home, the zoo added.

See more photos of zoo animals in the zoo news archive >>

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • Americas Best Zoos author

    It is simply amazing how Jack Hanna’s great zoo keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to go see this exciting new polar bear habitat.
    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos

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