Buffalo Zoo Short Funding for Polar Bear Exhibit

1:07 PM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY -- There's a chance the Polar Bear cubs at the Buffalo Zoo may have to go elsewhere -- if $2.5 million dollars of funding is not found by this fall.

It's a tradition for Andrew Dananski to take his kids to the Buffalo Zoo.

He's one of 450,000 visitors that come through the gates each year.

"Everybody always wants to see the lions the tigers and the bears," Dananski said.

There's one exhibit that has been bringing the crowds in.

"There are only 31 zoos in the US that hold polar bears, which is less than the number of football franchises," Donna Fernandez said.

Buffalo Zoo President Donna Fernandez is talking about the polar bear cubs Luna and Kali who have been attractions since their arrival.

Kali is an orphaned cub owned by US Fish and Wildlife and is supposed to be only staying here temporarily. But there's also a chance Luna, who was born at the Buffalo Zoo -- may be leaving soon too.

The zoo needs to raise over 2 million dollars.

"If we don't complete the campaign this fall, we'd have to send both bears to a different facility," Hernandez said.

So far 15.6 million dollars has been raised through a capitol campaign for a new 60,000 square foot Arctic Edge Exhibit that would include a salt water pool replicating the snow cold climate of the arctic. To break ground for the cubs a total $18 million dollars is needed.

"We're doing everything we can to raise money," Fernandez said.

There is urgency because the current exhibit does not meet the 'Association of Zoos and Aquariums' standards.

For a temporary solution, there are plans to make modifications to the tiger exhibit -- where the polar bears will be housed.

The cubs have brought in an additional 30,000 visitors this year.

But the keepers of the zoo say money is needed- for the attraction to stick around.

For more information on the zoo's polar bear pledge, or if you would like to donate click here

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