Skip to main content

Video: Como Zoo welcomes new polar bear named Nan

The 26-year-old bear was found orphaned under a home in Alaska.
polar bear 2

The Como Zoo has welcomed a new polar bear to its celebration.

Nan, a 26-year-old female, is being slowly introduced behind the scenes to the St. Paul zoo's other polar bear, 25-year-old Neil, and becoming acclimated to her new home in the Polar Bear Odyssey habitat.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nan to the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory family,” said Director Michelle Furrer. "Nan is an important ambassador for her threatened species. When people see and learn more about polar bears, it brings awareness of their plight in the wild.”

At the Como Zoo, Nan will join Neil in serving as ambassadors for polar bears and be each other's companions (they aren't a breeding couple, so there are no baby polar bears in their future). 

In 2008, polar bears were the first species to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act as threatened primarily due to climate change. There are an estimated 22,000 to 31,000 polar bears in the wild, and polar bear numbers are projected to decline by 30% by 2050.

Nan comes to the Como Zoo just in time for International Polar Bear Day on Saturday.

Nan's story

Nan, which is short for the Inupiaq word Nanutaaq, meaning young of a bear, has been all over the country in her 26 years. 

She was orphaned and discovered under a house in Burrow, Alaska, when she was a little cub. Wildlife officials determined she was too young to survive in the wild on her own, so she was placed under human care at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.

She lived at the Washington zoo for nearly five years before moving to the Toledo Zoo, which she called home for 16 years. She then moved to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, where she's spent the past four years before coming to the Como Zoo in January.

All these moves were based on recommendations by the polar bear Species Survival Plan, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' advisory group, which uses science to manage the population of polar bears in zoos in North America, the Como Zoo says. 

Here's Nan playing in the water at the Como Zoo: 

And here she is rolling in the snow:

Need more polar bear videos? You're in luck. The Como Zoo can watch her on the Como Zoo's "Como Live" event on Facebook at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday (or go back and watch the video later). 

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Related

polar bear como zoo

Young polar bear joining the celebration at Como Zoo

The bear is part of a new Burr on Fur program that will help wild polar bears.

Buzz the polar bear.

Buzz the polar bear, longtime Como Park Zoo resident, dies at 24

He passed away due to "suspected neurological issues."

como zoo conservatory

Conservatory at the Como Zoo is reopening on Monday

Face coverings and advanced (free) reservations are required.

como-zoo-snow-leopard-cub-may-2-2019-RESIZE-CROP

First snow leopard cub born at Como Zoo in 12 years

Mother and cub are being monitored via video camera right now.

New baby zebra at the Como Zoo.

St. Paul's Como Zoo welcomes new baby zebra

The baby is yet to be named, and the zoo is planning an event for visitors to help with the decision.

Como Zoo's new gorilla is named Nyati

Voters named Como Zoo's baby gorilla after a magical animal.