Nora the polar bear set to make debut at the Oregon Zoo - KPTV - FOX 12

Nora the polar bear set to make debut at the Oregon Zoo

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Nora, a year-old polar bear brought to the Oregon Zoo from Columbus, Ohio, is ready to make her public debut. (Oregon Zoo) Nora, a year-old polar bear brought to the Oregon Zoo from Columbus, Ohio, is ready to make her public debut. (Oregon Zoo)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Zoo’s newest polar bear could make her public debut anytime, zoo officials said Monday.

Nora, who was born at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio a year ago and came to the Oregon Zoo earlier this year, has been given access to the entire polar bear habitat, which is now reopened to the public.

Senior keeper Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey pointed out that visitors may not always see Nora, though, since she also has access to the behind-the-scenes den areas.

“Visitors might see more of her in the coming weeks, but that’s all up to Nora,” she said. “We understand how excited people are to see her, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. Her welfare has always been the guiding principle for us.”

The news of the reopening of the polar bear exhibit is bittersweet for many at the zoo after the death last week of an older polar bear named Tasul. Zoo officials hoped the older bear would befriend the year-old transplanted Nora.

Keepers said the two polar bears had met several times, but were not yet comfortable together, adding that they would be looking for a new “mentor” bear to pair with Nora.

“One of the reasons Nora came here was to meet another bear,” curator Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo’s polar bear area, said. “It’s beneficial for a young bear that was hand-raised to have a mentor bear as soon as possible, so we’re in touch with the Species Survival Plan about what is best for Nora at this time.”

While the zoo said there is no set schedule yet for Nora to be out, she has been more active before 11 a.m. Nicassio-Hiskey said since Nora tends to nap and go to sleep early, the visitor viewing may close to give her “quiet time,” adding that the Oregon Zoo website would be updated with the information and schedules.

For more on Nora or the other exhibits at the Oregon Zoo, visit OregonZoo.org.

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