She's All Grown Up! Nora The Polar Bear Will Make Her West Coast Debut This Fall

Nora the Polar Bear will be moving to her new home at the Oregon Zoo this fall. Although the official date for the beloved Arctic ambassador's West Coast debut is not set, fans can expect to see her as early as mid-October.

Introducing baby Nora

When we first introduced you to Nora, she was a fuzzy little cub chewing on her name tag. The world was charmed and we watched as this adorable little roly-poly girl romped around in her room. It wasn't an easy start for little Nora though. Just two weeks after she was born, her mother lost interest and rejected the baby. Zookeepers at the Columbus Zoo made the executive decision to step in and hand-raise little Nora themselves.

Here she comes!Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Fuzzy little Nora introduces herself to the world!Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Now, almost a year later, Nora is a happy, healthy teenager weighing in at 150 pounds!

Go Nora! Go!The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Nora's move couldn't come at better time

Zoo keepers at the Columbus Zoo observed two other female polar bears, Anana and Aurora mating with the makle, Nanuq. If they become pregnant, the female bears could enter their dens in October and give birth as soon as November. The Oregon Zoo explains that these would-be mothers require calm and quiet, which would not have been possible with the scheduled habitat rotations that occurred with Nora.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan recommended Nora's transfer so that the Columbus Zoo could provide the best environment for future cubs to be born.

Here's a Look at little Nora's journey so far:

Movin' on up

Nora's not getting the shaft though. In fact, she's getting an upgrade and a special mentor to teach her the ways of the polar bear. Tasul is an older, female polar bear who recently lost her brother and longtime habitat companion, Conrad. Keepers think that the good natured Tasul and the playful, intelligent Nora will bond well together.

"We are very excited to welcome Nora and are optimistic that Tasul and she will be good companions," said curator Amy Cutting, who oversees the zoo's marine life area.

It's a Polar Bear Bond

The two bears share another something special link, they are both the first of their kind. In 2011, Tasul became the first polar bear in the world to voluntarily give blood. With Tasul's help, scientists are gathering important information about the effect of climate change on polar bears. Nora's upbringing in captivity has provided rare information about how to raise polar bears in human care.

The Oregon Zoo also has plans to design a new polar bear habitat, Polar Passage. It is one of eight major construction projects funded by a public bond passed in 2008. If the ladies need a temporary home to go to durning construction, they will remain together at another facility equipped to care for polar bears.

"We are overjoyed to share this important milestone in Nora's life with the fantastic care team at the Oregon Zoo," said Tom Stalf, Columbus Zoo president and CEO. "To think back to that first week of her life, when there was such a high chance that she would not survive, we cannot be anything but happy to see her grow into the strong, playful and intelligent bear she has become."

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