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'Patches' Makes Debut at NC Zoo A Day After Christmas

6:14 PM, Dec 26, 2013   |    comments
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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Thursday, a sight many have been waiting for weeks, a chance to see 'Patches' the only Polar Bear at the North Carolina Zoo.

At 9:00 a.m., the bear went on exhibit her new home.

The 26-year-old bear was born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., and came to North Carolina from the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania.

Zoo keepers say Patches is healthy. They say she loves to be outside - so much that it was difficult at first to move her into her holding quarters. She's improved, but workers decided it would be best to give her access Thursday to both the exhibit and holding quarters. 

The flexibility to roam between the two areas could mean there might be times when Patches isn't in the public view.

Patches' home is in an environment the zoo recently paid $8.5 million to renovate. 

Before she came, the zoo had two polar bears, but they died this year. One of the bears was at the N.C. Zoo when it died; the other was living in the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin. Both bears were in their twenties.

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