Parties and Planning

As you’ve likely seen, polar bear Anana will soon be leaving Lincoln Park Zoo to make her home at North Carolina Zoo.

Join us August 23 for a Polar Bear Farewell Party--say goodbye to Anana as he gets ready to move to another zoo.

Anana peers out from her exhibit at Polar Bear Plaza.

Like every animal transfer, this isn’t a move we make lightly. But Anana’s departure is a necessary step in creating a state-of-the-art Polar Bear Habitat, one designed to reflect the latest research about the needs of this threatened cold-weather predator.

Polar bears are facing a crisis in the wild as climate change reduces Arctic ice, removing the very platform this species relies on to hunt and thrive. Recognizing the crisis, North American zoos are coming together under the umbrella of the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan® to help conserve polar bears.

But the unique needs of these massive marine mammals—large exhibits, spacious pools—demand a substantial investment. The zoo’s new Polar Bear and Penguin Habitats, which will begin construction this fall, will cost $22 million to complete.

The results will be worth it, of course. The new Polar Bear Habitat will feature tundra terrain to roam over, a cave for summer cooldowns and the ability to be divided into two exhibits: a must for hoped-for cubs down the road.

The new polar bear habitat will replicate the Arctic predator's native landscape

The new polar bear habitat will replicate the Arctic predator's native landscape. See larger version.

Many friends of the zoo have asked if Anana will come back to Lincoln Park Zoo once the new exhibit is completed. The honest answer is that we don’t know. That decision will be made down the road as part of the regular planning process by the Polar Bear Species Survival Plan. And that’s as it should be.

The Polar Bear Species Survival Plan—and similar plans for hundreds of other threatened species—brings together zoos and aquariums throughout North America to make the matches and moves that are best for zoo populations as a whole. Every change is guided by scientists at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Population Management Center, which is headquartered at Lincoln Park Zoo. These experts analyze family trees, review available space and evaluate the overall health of a population to make the best possible recommendations.

If Anana’s return is what’s best for the polar bear population as a whole when the new habitat is complete, then she’ll likely come back. But if another move is the best one, we’ll be happy to make that as well. Ultimately, like our partners throughout North America, we want to do what’s best for each zoo population as a whole.

Anana sniffs at some icy enrichment at a Members-Only Farewell Party Preview.

Anana sniffs at some icy enrichment at a Members-Only Farewell Party Preview.

That being said, everyone at the zoo will miss Anana when she leaves, especially the animal care experts who take care of her every day of the year. It’s tough to say goodbye to an animal who’s been a beloved part of the zoo for 13 years. But to ensure everyone has a chance, we’ve arranged a special Polar Bear Farewell Party this Saturday, August 23. Come by from 10 a.m–noon to sign a farewell banner for Anana, see her enjoy special enrichment and hear polar bear chats from our educators. It should be a fun celebration of Anana’s time at the zoo.

We’re sad to see her go, but we’re excited for what’s coming next. And who knows…we may see Anana here again.

Kevin Bell

Update: This post initially had the correct day but incorrect date for Anana's farewell party. It is Saturday, August 23.

Learn More

The expanded habitat will provide space for two polar bears and possible cubs.

Post from the President—Penguin (and Polar) Plans  
The north side of the zoo will get a brand-new look in 2016 as Lincoln Park Zoo unveils immersive new homes for polar bears and penguins. President and CEO Kevin Bell shares the details.

Anana Slideshow
Lincoln Park Zoo's polar bear moved to the zoo in 2001 and has thrilled visitors ever since. See Anana diving in her pool and playing with enrichment in this special slideshow.

Female polar bear Anana at Lincoln Park Zoo

Field Note: Polar Bear
Learn some cool facts about this arctic carnivore’s breeding behavior and social interactions in the wild.

Learn more about one of Lincoln Park Zoo’s top predators with this closer look at polar bear Anana.

All About Anana
Learn more about one of Lincoln Park Zoo’s top predators with this closer look at polar bear Anana.



new Tiger and Lion exhibits

when will the Tigers and Lions get an expanded exhibit? why not just make their pits bigger and use half of the plaza/stone steps so the cats can climb up and down,but NOT ESCAPE/wider pits would let visitors see the BEAUTIFUL BIG CATS much better/ THANKYOU

Re: New Tiger and Lion Exhibits

Thanks for your feedback, Robert. That's not part of our current planning, but we're always exploring ways to improve the zoo.

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