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Snow lands at Reid Park Zoo, in polar bear form

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Snow lands at Reid Park Zoo, in polar bear form

Documentary star finds new home in desert

  • Snow the polar bear could be ready to greet the public in a matter of days.
    SeaWorld OrlandoSnow the polar bear could be ready to greet the public in a matter of days.

Despite sunny skies, 500 pounds of Snow arrived in Tucson on Thursday night.

Snow, a 17-year-old female, has come to Reid Park Zoo from SeaWorld Orlando in search of drier weather for a chronic skin allergy, said Vivian VanPeenen, a spokeswoman for the zoo, in a press release.

Snow and her brother Klondike are already stars in the animal world. After their mother failed to care for them, staff at the Denver Zoo raised the cubs from birth by hand. They've been featured in films, books and a PBS documentary, "Klondike & Snow: A Tale of Twin Polar Bears."

The twins had lived at SeaWorld since 1995. This is the first time they've been separated in their 17 years of life, but Snow's allergies forced the split, The Denver Post reported.

SeaWorld Orlando's animal staff tried several times to treat Snow's skin condition with little long-term success. Tucson's dry climate could improve the condition, and Reid Park Zoo has a history of working with polar bears that suffer from dermatitis, VanPeenen said.

Snow is settling in to her new home and could be ready to greet the public in just a few days, VanPeenen said.

Polar bears are solitary animals in the wild and VanPeenen said there are no plans to acquire another for the zoo. The focus is on Snow and helping her with her health problems, she said.

Reid Park Zoo's last polar bear, Kobe, moved to Pittsburgh in November 2011 to meet her arranged mate, a 7-year-old bear named Koda.

In December 2010, the zoo lost 11-year-old Boris who died after a bad reaction to anesthesia during an examination.


If you go

  • What: Reid Park Zoo
  • Where: Reid Park, 1100 S. Randolph Way
  • When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., everyday through May; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., June through August
  • Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children 14 and younger

For more information, call 791-4022 or visit the zoo's website or Facebook page.

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