ROYAL OAK, Mich. (FOX 2) - The Detroit Zoo is welcoming its newest member this month.
Its new polar bear will make her big debut at the zoo on International Polar Bear Day, Feb. 27.
The bear, who's 19 years old and named Anana, came from the Cincinnati Zoo a few weeks ago. She'll soon join 15-year-old male Nuka and 7-year-old female Suka in the Detroit Zoo's Arctic Ring of Life - one of North America's largest polar bear habitats.
She switched zoos on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Program.
"Nuka and Anana appear curious and interested, which is a good sign," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society. "We're optimistic for future breeding and carefully watching how their relationship develops."
The zoo is doing some fun things for the bears on International Polar Bear Day. There will be zookeeper talks and educational activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day.
The polar bears will also receive special treats in their habitat at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Animal care staff will share information about the personalities and behaviors of polar bears Nuka, Suka and Anana immediately following each feeding.
Education stations will include handheld microscopes that will provide an up-close look at the fur of a polar bear to show that it's not actually white but rather translucent and hollow - the sun's reflection off the bear's dark skin gives the illusion of a white coat.
"Blubber gloves" will demonstrate how blubber serves as insulation for these marine mammals, keeping them warm despite their icy climate.
Kids will also have the opportunity to compare themselves to a life-size polar bear cut-out in the Nunavut Gallery.
The Arctic Ring of Life encompasses more than 4 acres of outdoor and indoor spaces. The most unique feature is the spectacular 70-foot-long Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, a clear tunnel that winds through a vast underwater marine environment.
For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.