The North Carolina Zoo is welcoming its newest resident, a 1,000-pound male polar bear. The zoo has high hopes the addition will result in new offspring.
The 17-year-old bear named Payton was brought to the zoo in a round of breeding musical chairs. He was transferred from the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee as part of a species survival relocation plan.
Once Payton passes his bear physical, he'll be introduced to Anana, the zoo's female polar bear.
According to a news release, Payton will replace Nikita, a male polar bear who after five years has failed to produce a cub. Nikita is being relocated to a zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jennifer Ireland is curator of mammals at the North Carolina Zoo. She says that polar bear populations are declining, and zoos have a significant role in protecting the future of the species.
In a bid to spark some mammalian romance, Payton and Anana will be introduced to each other right around Valentine's Day, which also marks the beginning of the polar bear breeding season.