Kansas City Zoo
4:33 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Romance For Polar Bears? Zoo Crowds Keep Watch

If you're a zoo-lover, you’ve probably heard that the Kansas City Zoo’s very popular Polar Bear, Nikita, has a new friend.

Six-year-old Nikita, a male, has been joined by female Berlin, 17 years his senior.

Berlin came to Kansas City from the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. Her habitat there had been destroyed by this summer's floods. 

After a short stay with two neutered males at the Minnesota Zoo, wildlife conservation experts decided to pair Berlin with a more virile male.

As it happened, Kansas City had recently invested in a state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit. The young Nikita was its first resident.

So, to the delight of Kansas City zoo-goers, Nikita now has someone to play with. And hopefully, a lover.

At the same time, economic development types in Kansas City say the exhibit provides exciting marketing and growth opportunities.

The Kansas City polar bears illustrate how the conservation and education mission of zoos is, more and more, helping municipalities with their bottom line.

Officials at the zoo say Polar Bears Nikita and Berlin fulfill the zoo's mission of education and conservation. Economic development officials say the zoo, and special exhibits like the polar bears, bring people to town and boost the city's bottom line.