Hudson, the polar bear cub that enchanted visitors to the Toronto Zoo last summer, is now growing up and moving away from home.
The one-year-old polar bear will be moving to Winnipeg later this month to a new home at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, the Toronto Zoo announced Thursday, Jan. 17.
Hudson will make the move on Jan. 28.
Local residents are invited to say their farewells to him by the end of the Toronto Zoo’s operating hours on Jan. 27.
Hudson was lucky he even survived his first few days after being born at the Toronto Zoo. His mother, Aurora, turned on her litter of three cubs, killing two of them before zoo staff rescued Hudson who weighed only 700 grams at the time.
Hudson was raised by zoo staff and has since grown to weigh more than 400 pounds.
The move to the Assiniboine zoo is Hudson’s next step to becoming a mature male polar bear in the hopes that he will be paired with a female in the future and contribute to the Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding program, the Toronto Zoo said.
The Assiniboine zoo has recently completed the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre – a key component of the new 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit currently under construction. Hudson will be the first polar bear to inhabit this new facility prior to moving into Journey to Churchill in 2014, the Toronto Zoo said.
Full details about Hudson’s new home can be found at www.imagineaplace.ca/zoo-renewal/journey-to-churchill.
“This is very exciting for all of us here at the Assiniboine Park Zoo and we can’t wait to welcome Hudson into our zoo family,” said Tim Sinclair-Smith, director of zoological operations at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, in a release.
“His arrival marks a significant step in our polar bear program and conservation efforts as we move closer to the opening of the Journey to Churchill in 2014.”
Once Hudson has departed to his new home, the Toronto Zoo will continue the polar bear breeding
program and pair male, Inukshuk, with sisters Aurora (Hudson’s mother) and Nikita.
Last December, the Toronto Zoo announced that Aurora most recent litter of three cubs died.
However, unlike Hudson’s case, Aurora seemed to accept her role as mother, the zoo said at the time.
Zoo staff said the new litter was born in early December, and while one of the premature cubs died immediately, Aurora seemed to be nurturing and nursing the other two. A few days later, though, those cubs had also died, for reasons the zoo said were unclear.
– With files from Mike Adler