BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo's love affair with its two resident polar bears will continue through 2015.
Senator Charles Schumer came to town to say he has secured a commitment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep one of them, Kali, at the Buffalo Zoo until then, if the facility passes its 2014 inspection as expected.
Kali has been sought after by other zoos interested in adding a polar bear exhibit. The bear's friendship with her exhibit mate, Luna, was cited as one of the reasons for the decision to keep Kali in the Queen City for now.
"For frequent zoo visitors, and for the staff at the Buffalo Zoo who have watched Kali grow up from a polar bear cub, to see him go before he had a chance to reach adulthood would have been unbearable, said New York's senior Senator. " Now, as long as all goes as the Zoo expects with its 2014 APHIS review, Kali will stay in Buffalo until at least 2015, where he is safe, healthy, and has the potential to breed."
Kali was a wild polar bear rescued by the Fish and Wildlife Service after a hunter killed his mother. Because Kali is owned by the service, unlike Luna, who is owned by the Buffalo Zoo, it can move Kali to other zoos if it so chooses.
This news comes on the heels of the announcement over the weekend that enough funding has been secured for the zoo to begin work next year on a new Arctic exhibit, which will be the new home for Kali and Luna.