Only polar bear at N.C. Zoo debuts in new home

The Associated Press

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ASHEBORO — The newest resident at the North Carolina Zoo has made her debut.

Patches, a 26-year-old bear born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., greeted visitors to the zoo Thursday. She had been at the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania before coming to North Carolina.

Zoo keepers say Patches is healthy and loves to be outside. At first reluctant to go indoors to off-exhibit holding quarters, officials say hydraulic doors will remain open to give the bear access to both the exhibit and the holding quarters.

A 21-year-old polar bear that had lived at the N.C. Zoo for 19 years died in September. The zoo’s other polar bear died in October at the Milwaukee County Zoo, where he was staying during renovations to the bear habitat.