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Polar bears at NC Zoo enjoy snow day

Snow day at the NC Zoo!

Animals frolic in the snow at the NC Zoo in Asheboro Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.
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Animals frolic in the snow at the NC Zoo in Asheboro Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

While some North Carolinians slogged through snow and scraped windshields, residents at the state’s zoo were happy to see the fluffy white stuff.

The North Carolina Zoo’s polar bears – and its other Arctic critters – enjoyed their snow day Wednesday.

Asheboro didn’t see the near foot of snow parts of central North Carolina did, but the 7 inches or so was enough to get its Arctic animals excited, along with wind chills in single digits.

Polar bears Nikita and Anana were fed whole fish as a special snow day treat, according to the zoo.

A video of the animals showed an otter, bobcat, Arctic fox and the bears spending time in the snow on Wednesday.

Nikita is a newer addition to the zoo. The 11-year-old male was relocated to North Carolina from the Kansas City, Mo., zoo in 2016. Nikita and 18-year-old Anana now share an exhibit in the hope that the two would be a breeding pair. Polar bears tend to breed in the winter.

Less than 20 percent of American Zoological Association-accredited zoos have polar bears and only 60 polar bears are on exhibit in the United States. This means that all polar bears in zoos are genetically important for the species.

Nikita was born at the Toledo Zoo. He arrived in Kansas City in 2010 when he was 3 years old. Anana, whose name means “beautiful” in Inuit, was born at the Seneca Park Zoo (Rochester, N.Y.) in November 1999. She arrived at the Lincoln Park Zoo in 2001 and was moved to the North Carolina Zoo in September 2014.

Because of the snowstorm, the zoo was expected to remain closed through Thursday.

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