Nora the polar bear will move to the Hogle Zoo where caregivers plan to introduce her to Hope, another bear around her age.
Nora was originally born at the Columbus Zoo. Her mother began leaving the den for prolonged periods of time, prompting keepers to hand-rear the cub.
In September 2016, Nora arrived at the Oregon Zoo where she was expected to bond with Tasul, one of the oldest polar bears on the planet. However, Tasul died before the two could form a strong bond.
Caregivers said Nora has been almost exclusively with people since the time she was born. The move to Utah will give her the opportunity to be with another bear with a similar youthful energy.
Amy Cutting, who oversees the Oregon Zoo’s marine life area, said, “For a young bear that was hand-raised, the companionship of another bear will be so important for developing social skills. Nora has made a lot of progress, and this is an important next step in her life.”
A departure date for Nora has not yet been determined, but the zoo said she’ll be around for the rest of the summer until Hope, who is currently at the Toledo Zoo, can leave her mother.
The Oregon Zoo is continuing work to improve their polar bear habitat, with an expected completion date sometime in 2020.
Zoo officials said it’s too soon to say whether Norah might return to Oregon once the habit is finished.