The public will soon be able to meet the latest polar bear to call Winnipeg home.
Storm, a three-year-old male bear arrived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo's International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPBCC) on Oct. 10 after attacking a man in Churchill.
- Polar bear sent to zoo after Churchill attack named 'Storm'
- Winnipeg's female polar bear named Aurora
Since then, the bear has been getting used to his new home and has been cautiously introduced to Hudson, who made his first public appearance in the zoo in February. The now-two-year-old Hudson arrived in January from Toronto, where he was born and raised in captivity.
Storm and Hudson met nose-to-nose for the first time on Wednesday for a brief time.
Over the next few weeks, they will continue to get to know each other gradually through a number of introductions but will be housed in separate enclosures at the IPBCC for the time being.
Storm will be available to viewing by the public starting Saturday.
The approximately 200-pound bear has adjusted well to his new surroundings, said zoo officials.
“Storm is a great bear and we’re very excited for him to meet the public this weekend,” Brian Joseph, director of zoological operations, said on Thursday.
“Yesterday we introduced him to Hudson for the first time, and there’s no doubt that the two of them are going to be great friends.”
The zoo also has two other polar bears-in-waiting. Aurora, an 11-month-old orphaned female bear came to the zoo after it was found orphaned near a Churchill airport.
As well, another 11-month-old female cub — as yet unnamed — is in quarantine. Its mother was killed earlier this month during a search for another bear that attacked two people in Churchill.
All of the bears will eventually move into the Journey to Churchill exhibit when it opens in summer 2014, and roam the "tundra" together.
Assiniboine Park Zoo had been without a polar bear since its long-time resident, Debby, died in 2008 at age 42.
The zoo was not able to get another polar bear because its enclosure no longer met provincial standards. That served as the impetus for the $26-million Journey to Churchill exhibit, currently under construction.
The Journey to Churchill exhibit will be 20 times larger than the enclosure that housed Debby and will include underwater and above-ground viewing opportunities to enable visitors to come face to face with the bears.
Zoo hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.