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Kali & Luna: Polar Pals Play-Date Goes Public At Zoo.

(WBEN/AP) Kali, the orphan polar bear from Alaska has his first public play date with Luna, the  Buffalo Zoo's own polar bear cub later today.

The Buffalo Zoo will unveil the two of them together,  beginning today at 11:30 and continuing daily  from 11:30 am – 2:00 p.m.

Since her public debut on Good Friday,  Luna - a female cub born in November-  has become the zoo's star attraction and the face of an $18 million fundraising campaign for a planned Arctic exhibit and new zoo entrance. Her daily romps around the enclosure have attracted hundreds. 


Outside the Alaska Zoo Infirmary
   More pictures

 - Image 60

The two cubs have been introduced to each other gradually since Kali's arrival at the Buffalo Zoo on May 15 and appeared together in an outside enclosure for the first time in a test run Sunday.  They will play and frolic together each day until Kali leaves for her permanent home sometime in the next few months.

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 Zoo President  Donna Fernandes
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From early April:
On Luna's Public Debut

From late May:
on Kali's Journey to Buffalo

Kali's  mother was killed March 12 by a subsistence hunter near Point Lay, an Inupiat Eskimo whaling community 300 miles southwest of Barrow and 700 miles northwest of Anchorage. The hunter later realized he had killed a mother and tracked Kali down to rescue him.

"He followed the tracks back to the den, crawled down inside, found a cub, pulled it out, put it in his coveralls, rode it back into Point Lay and then got hold of U.S. Fish and Wildlife," said Patrick Lampi, executive director of the Alaska Zoo, which had cared for the bear before it came to Buffalo.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Geoff Haskett says the Buffalo Zoo was picked as Kali's temporary home in part because it already has a six-month old polar bear cub that can socialize with Kali.

Buffalo is likely to be only be a temporary home for Kali; officials are considering the Saint Louis Zoo as a final destination for the bear. The US Fish & Wildlife Service controls the bear's custody.

"We recognize that the Saint Louis Zoo is in the process of building a state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit expected to be completed in 2015," Dan Ashe, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement. "Our goal is to work with the Zoo to ensure the proper standards of care are met for the polar bears who will eventually find a home in Saint Louis."

Filed Under :  
Topics : Human Interest
Social :
Locations : AlaskaAnchorageBarrowBuffalo
People : Dan AsheGeoff HaskettKALI ARRIVESLUNA SAYSPatrick Lampi
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