Two polar bears that have been at the Assiniboine Park Zoo since 2016 and 2017 will soon be moved to a new polar bear habitat in Calgary.

This fall, male polar bears Baffin, who is six years old and Siku who is seven years old, will join the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo family as part of a partnership with the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

"Baffin and Siku are exceptional polar bears and it has been our privilege to care for them here at Assiniboine Park Zoo. We will miss them tremendously, but know they are going to a wonderful new home at another leading Canadian AZA-accredited zoo where they will help share the story of Churchill, Manitoba, and the impact of climate change on the Arctic with visitors from across Canada and around the world," said Dr. Chris Enright, Senior Director of Zoological Operations, Animal Management and Conservation, Assiniboine Park Conservancy.

Polar bear SikuSiku plays at Assiniboine Park Zoo (Submitted by Assiniboine Park Zoo)

The pair were both orphaned at less than a year of age and identified as candidates for transfer to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre at Assiniboine Park Zoo. In both cases, the young bears were observed wandering alone in the Churchill area and confirmed to be orphaned before conservation officers intervened.

Assiniboine Park Zoo is currently home to nine polar bears, seven of which live in the Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit.

“The transfer of these polar bears to the world-class polar bear habitat at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo represents the efforts of numerous passionate and dedicated teams in conservation-focused zoos and government," Jamie Dorgan, Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo explained. "Human-caused climate change is threatening polar bear habitat. These rescued bears will receive exceptional care and continue to act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts, helping connect people to nature in ways that encourage them to take stronger action than ever before to protect wildlife and wild places.”

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo’s polar bear habitat was constructed in consultation with industry professionals and polar bear care experts from Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo, which is home to the award-winning Journey to Churchill exhibit and the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. 

 It will open to the public as part of the Wild Canada grand reopening on Saturday, December 1st, 2023.