Asheboro, NC-- Right on schedule! Aquila the polar bear is ready for visitors at the North Carolina Zoo.
The polar bear returned from the Detroit Zoo in late April where he spent the last two years. Aquila was shipped away while construction crews did $8.5 million in renovations at the polar bear exhibit in Asheboro.
After his return, Zoo officials said they wanted to give Aquila until May 15 to get use to his new digs and Wednesday, he went public again.
The zoo's second polar bear, Wilhelm, remains at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin, but should return back to North Carolina soon.
The entire exhibit is scheduled to open to the public late 2014.
"Polar bears, always one of the zoo's most popular animals, are iconic figures under severe threat from global climate change," said Ken Reininger, the zoo's general curator. "(We) hope the reopening of the polar bear exhibit will draw attention to this global issue and what each of us can do to help address it."
History on NC Zoo Polar Bears:
Aquila, a 20-year-old male was born at the Louisville Zoo in 1992 and has spent much of his life at the North Carolina Zoo.
Wilhelm, a 28-year-old male (better known as "Willie"), was born at the Copenhagen (Denmark) Zoo but came to the zoo when he and seven other polar bears were confiscated in November 2002 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from a circus performing group in Puerto Rico.