Neil and Buzz, St. Paul’s polar bears, will get their new neighbors this fall.
FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2013 file photo provided by the Toledo Zoo, twin polar bears Sakari and Suka are shown with their mother. The zoo has announced that in the fall, the brother and sister will be moved to the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. (AP Photo/The Toledo Zoo) ORG XMIT: MIN2014082313384712
Polar bear, polar bear, what do you hear?
For Suka and Sakari, twin polar bears from the zoo in Toledo, Ohio, it will likely be the “ooh’s” and “ah’s” of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory visitors once the almost 2-year-old cubs make their Minnesota debut later this fall.
That’s right. Neil and Buzz, Como’s resident polar bears, will soon be getting some frisky new neighbors at the Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit.
Como Zoo officials confirmed Saturday that Suka and Sakari are bound for St. Paul. They will soon leave the Toledo Zoo, where they’ve been a popular attraction since being born in November 2012 to resident bears Crystal and Marty.
It’s unclear how long Suka and Sakari will ultimately stay at Como, as the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan recommends making moves to ensure genetic diversity.
“For right now, they’ll be calling Minnesota home,” said Michelle Furrer, director of the Como Zoo and Conservatory.
Furrer said that when the twins arrive, they will be separated from Neil and Buzz. Only time will tell if the bears will share the same enclosure.
But Neil and Buzz have proved to be a welcoming lot. In 2012, they were joined by Berlin, a polar bear from the Duluth Zoo that was temporarily displaced by flooding. Similarly, Como Zoo was a temporary home for three bears from Minot, N.D., that were also displaced by flooding in 2011.
Suka is a female and her name means “fast” in the Inuit language. Sakari is a male and, in the Inuit, his name means “sweet.”
The siblings are said to be active and playful and routinely interact with Toledo visitors.
They’ll also inject a bit of youth into the zoo’s polar bear exhibit. Brothers Buzz and Neil are 18 and have been on display at the zoo since 2002.
“It will be really exciting to see how different they are in terms of activity and curiosity,” Furrer said.
Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469