TALLINN – Tallinn Zoo polar bear Aron, who will turn four years old in the fall, will this year move to the La Fleche Zoo in France on the recommendation of the coordinator of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) polar bear breeding program.
In the new polar bear habitat of the zoo there, a companion has been chosen for Aron by the coordinator -- the female polar bear Quintana from the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich. Simultaneously with the preparation of Aron's transport, Tallinn Zoo is preparing to bring in a companion to polar bear Friida.
Tallinn Zoo animal curator Tonis Tasane said that the zoo wants to organize the transport within this year. "The transport of a polar bear depends on several factors and thus no firm agreements have been made regarding this. Although La Fleche Zoo is prepared to welcome Aron, the date of the move foremost depends on Aron himself. We placed the transport box in the polar bear's indoor enclosure for his inspection, but bears are not stupid enough to rush headfirst into an unknown box. In the interests of the animal's welfare, it is important that Aron has time to get used to going into the transport box and that he does not have to go in there against his wishes on the day of moving," Tasane said.
Tallinn Zoo director Tiit Maran said that the relocation of Aron, who was born and raised in Tallinn Zoo, to a new zoo will make it possible to bring in a male companion for Aron's mother, Friida. "Polar bears reproduce well in European zoos and there tend to be more of them than there is space for them in the zoos, which is why the species coordinator has recommended that exceptionally few zoos have offspring from their polar bears. Tallinn Zoo is one of those few. This means that in the future, there is hope to witness the birth and antics of a polar bear cub again in Tallinn Zoo," Maran said.
The transfer of polar bear Aron to La Fleche Zoo is taking place in connection with participation in the EAZA Ex situ program (EEP). Tallinn Zoo is taking part in EAZA EEPs with more than 57 species.