Asheboro, NC-- He's baaack! One of the Triad's most popular bears has returned home after spending two years in Detroit.
We're talking about Aquila, a Polar Bear at the North Carolina Zoo. Aquila returned Wednesday night after a two-year stay at the Detroit Zoo. Aquila was shipped away while major renovations were made at the polar bear exhibit in Asheboro.
Aquila will have until May 15 to adjust to the new digs.
Zoo officials said the zoo's second polar bear, Wilhelm, remains at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin.
The $8.5 million expansion of the NC Zoo's polar bear exhibit is scheduled to open to the public late 2014. A section will open May 15 of this year and will be home to Aquila.
"Polar bears, always one of the zoo's most popular animals, are iconic figures under severe threat from global climate change," said Ken Reininger, the zoo's general curator. "(We) hope the reopening of the polar bear exhibit will draw attention to this global issue and what each of us can do to help address it."
History on NC Zoo Polar Bears:
Aquila, a 20-year-old male was born at the Louisville Zoo in 1992 and has spent much of his life at the North Carolina Zoo.
Wilhelm, a 28-year-old male (better known as "Willie"), was born at the Copenhagen (Denmark) Zoo but came to the zoo when he and seven other polar bears were confiscated in November 2002 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from a circus performing group in Puerto Rico.
*Information provided by NC Zoo