Detroit Zoo says goodbye to inseparable polar bear duo Astra and Laerke

The Detroit Zoo will say their goodbyes to two of its polar bear cubs after it was agreed they should be transferred to another zoo across the U.S.

Astra and Laerke will move to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium this spring to ensure the best outcome for both of the cubs. 

The bears have been an inseparable duo ever since they were reunited earlier this year.

Astra and Laerke were born in November 2020 to mother Suka and father Nuka. However, two days after her birth, Laerke suffered a medical emergency, the Detroit Zoo said. The required care separated her from her sister and left her weak and in need of constant care.

However, she has rebounded and since then her and her sister have been very close. They've also put on a show for the lucky visitors of the Arctic Ring of Life exhibit, frolicking and playing frequently.

At their age of 2 years old, both are old enough to be living on their own in the wild. The zoo said the natural next step is to move them to help maintain a varied and genetically diverse polar bear population.

"We are saddened Laerke and Astra will be leaving us, but the Detroit Zoo is so proud to have played a role that influenced how these two cubs grew up," said Betsie Meister, associate curator of mammals for the DZS. "With that said, we know they are going to a great home at Point Defiance Zoo, another outstanding, AZA-accredited facility, and we are confident they will thrive in their new environment."

Their new home has housed polar bears for more than 80 years. They'll take over the spot of Blizzard, Point Defiance Zoo's last remaining polar bear, who was diagnosed with liver cancer before he was euthanized last year.