Kali (pronounced “Cully”), a 2½-year-old, 850-pound male polar bear that was orphaned in Alaska as a cub, is now resting comfortably in the Saint Louis Zoo’s new McDonnell Polar Bear Point exhibit, which is set to open June 6.
The bear’s May 5 transportation from Rochester NY to St Louis MO was donated by FedEx. The Saint Louis Zoo’s veterinarian and animal care staff accompanied him on the day-long journey, which included a FedEx Express flight from Rochester to Memphis TN, and a temperature-controlled truck transport via FedEx Custom Critical from Memphis to St Louis.
Kali will make his public debut when the exhibit opens June 6, after a 30-day quarantine period. Quarantine is a standard procedure for animals that have been transferred from other zoos. It allows them to acclimate to their new home and diet, and most importantly prevents introduction of pathogens among animals in the care of conservation organizations.
Steve Bircher, the Saint Louis Zoo’s curator of carnivores, said, “Kali arrived safe and sound and is adjusting nicely to his new surroundings.”
Kali’s new 40,000-square-foot home will offer visitors a 22-ft viewing window, where the bear can come right up to the glass to greet guests. The sea water area features a 1,000-sq-ft Arctic room with a four-panel viewing wall.
“We are extremely grateful to FedEx for their generosity in transporting Kali with such care and attention to his well-being,” said Jeffrey P Bonner, president and chief executive officer of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Their professionalism and top-notch service were exemplary.”
“FedEx is committed to the conservation of at-risk animal populations, and we’re proud to have played a part in Kali’s journey,” said Neil Gibson, vice-president–FedEx corporate communications. “We applaud the work of the Saint Louis Zoo and wish Kali a bright and happy future in his new home.”
Kali came to St Louis from the Buffalo (NY) Zoo, where he has lived since May 2013. In March 2013, the orphaned bear was turned over to US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) by an Alaskan hunter who unknowingly killed Kali’s mother in a subsistence hunt.
USFWS determined that St Louis would be the bear’s permanent home, working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Polar Bear Species Survival Plan.
Access www.fedex.com or www.stlzoo.org for more information.